Credit: samualjohanneswillem(Flickr)

Anyone who discriminates against breastfeeding mothers could face action under proposed changes to the Sex Discrimination Act.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the government would amend the legislation by extending protections from discrimination on the grounds of family responsibilities to both women and men in all areas of employment.

Mr McClelland said the changes would provide greater protection from sexual harassment for students and workers, ensure protections from sex discrimination applied equally to women and men and establish breastfeeding as a separate ground of discrimination.

He said in a statement that ensuring that anti-discrimination law meets the needs of contemporary Australians is an important part of ensuring the promotion and protection of human rights.

The proposed changes are part of the government's response to a report of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs into eliminating discrimination and promoting gender equality.

Mr McClelland further said that strengthening protections for workers with family responsibilities is an important step toward achieving economic equality between women and men.