A landmark report on sexual harassment against women in the FIFO mining industry has today (June 23) been tabled in State Parliament.
The Community Development and Justice Standing Committee’s report made 79 findings and 24 recommendations for industry and government to consider, including new reporting mechanisms, increasing female workforce participation, mandatory training, new safety measures and regular surveys and/or audits.
The Committee also recommended an industry-wide workers’ register of known perpetrators, the development of comprehensive standards and guidelines on sexual harassment, and better information sharing arrangements between the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, WorkSafe WA and WA Police.
READ THE REPORT: Sexual harassment against women in the FIFO mining industry
“The key to change is imbedding a workplace culture in all mining workforces that does not tolerate sexual assault or abuse, empowering bystanders, like the culture change programs that have addressed physical safety with such success,” Committee Chair Libby Mettam said.
“This is a large task that will require commitment and change in all levels of mining companies themselves and considerable resources.”
On Wednesday (June 22) Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston announced the appointment of an independent expert to review the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) protocols for responding to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the mining industry.
Elizabeth Shaw, who specialises in diversity, inclusion, culture and change at PwC Australia, will review DMIRS’ enforcement model, organisational capabilities and regulatory responses to these incidents on mine sites. Review findings are expected to be delivered in late 2022.
In a joint statement, CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell and Board President Nicolle Jenkins welcomed the release of the report.
“CCIWA continues to urge businesses of all sizes and sectors to work with their people and stakeholders to strengthen commitments to professional behaviour and diversity and inclusion,” they said.
“CCIWA has zero tolerance for harassment in the workplace. On a daily basis CCIWA supports WA businesses to foster safe, diverse and inclusive workplace cultures, to stand against misconduct and to deal with it properly when it occurs.”
Rodwell and Jenkins noted that “a significant challenge for businesses in dealing with sexual harassment is how complex it is to take disciplinary measures against perpetrators under workplace relations laws”.
“CCIWA urges the government to reform the unfair dismissal laws as a matter of priority, to strengthen the ability for employers to dismiss those who harass and bully others,” they said.
“This is a whole of society problem, and businesses stand ready alongside workers, unions, government and the community to tackle it.”
CCIWA will work closely with the WA business community to consider the Committee’s recommendations and provide a response to Government.