Eliminating Sexual Harassment in Resources

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The MCA welcomes the release of the report from the Western Australian Parliamentary Inquiry Into Sexual Harassment Against Women In the FIFO Mining Industry and reinforces its commitment to eliminating sexual harassment in the sector.

The Australian mining industry’s core value and commitment is the safety, health and psychological wellbeing of its workforce, where everyone who goes to work returns home safe and healthy.

We cannot claim to be taking the health and safety of our workforce seriously if the focus of our safety systems and culture do not include the health of the whole person: physical and psychological.

The minerals industry has made substantial progress over the past two years on addressing sexual harassment in the industry, with the MCA Respect@Work Taskforce delivering a number of actions:

  • Published a new safety and health policy to specifically incorporate psychological harm and respectful behaviours (January 2021)
  • Explicitly committed to eliminate sexual harassment in workplaces (January 2021)
  • Adopted a National Industry Code on eliminating sexual harassment (July 2021)
  • Published a comprehensive toolkit of resources to support industry (December 2021).

Last month, the MCA hosted a CEO Respect@Work Forum, bringing together over forty CEOs and leaders from the Australian mining industry to share progress in tackling sexual harassment in the workplace, and ensure the industry’s commitments to eliminating this abhorrent behaviour is met with real and tangible action.

The MCA recognises, however, that the industry has a long way to go to eliminate sexual harassment across its workplaces and will continue to support members achieve this critical reform and undertake further actions, including:

  • Embedding the National Industry Code on eliminating sexual harassment
  • Holding regular CEO-led discussions
  • Developing clear expectations on hiring and promotion of candidates with shared values about respectful workplaces
  • Developing guidance on sharing information on incidents across the industry, and preventing terminated employees moving across the industry
  • Delivering a series of webinars to support embedding of the national industry code.

The MCA is also encouraged by the incoming Labor Government’s commitments and it will work cooperatively to prioritise the practical and victim-centric adoption of the 55 recommendations from the Respect@Work Report.

It is important that all jurisdictions are consistent in the development and application of legislative and policy settings designed to prevent and respond to sexual harassment. Society-wide cultural change is required, not just for some workplaces in some jurisdictions.

Tania Constable

CEO, Minerals Council of Australia

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