The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (CME) and its member companies welcome today’s official progress report by the WA Government in response to the Parliamentary Inquiry Into Sexual Harassment Against Women in the FIFO Mining Industry.
CME Chief Executive Rebecca Tomkinson said the WA mining and resources sector appreciated Government efforts to ensure safe, respectful and inclusive workplaces, a goal shared by industry and other key stakeholders.
“A considerable amount of work has been progressed by both industry, unions and Government to address this important issue. We thank Minister Bill Johnston and Minister Simone McGurk as well as the Department of Communities and Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety for the work they continue to do, as highlighted in today’s progress update,” Ms Tomkinson said.
“All parties are working towards the final goal of ensuring workplaces and society are respectful, safe, and inclusive for all. The WA mining and resources sector is committed to eliminating sexual harassment and sexual assault from our workplaces and I know that is something that the WA Government is committed to as well.
“I’d like to acknowledge the courage of the women who have come forward to share their experiences, either through the Parliamentary Inquiry or via the media. We recognise the pain you have suffered and assure you that in coming forward, you will help make our sector better.
“That’s exactly what we’re working to achieve through our Safe and Respectful Behaviours Working Group, which features more than 50 representatives from CME member companies and which is dedicated to sharing and facilitating the implementation of best practice at operations around WA.”
Ms Tomkinson said CME and its member companies continued to work through and make progress on the series of recommendations to industry outlined in the Parliamentary Inquiry report.
“As we’ve stated before, we didn’t wait for the Inquiry to release its findings – we were proactive in taking action and many of the recommendations aligned with work our sector was already doing,” Ms Tomkinson said.
“This includes the Industry Alcohol Guideline for employer-owned and operated accommodation facilities that was introduced earlier this year and subsequently expanded to a set of Industry Expectations for work-adjacent settings such as conferences and airports.
“I know the recommendation from the Parliamentary Inquiry around the introduction of an industry register has been the subject of a lot of public attention. I reiterate our sector’s support for the intent of the recommendation – that being to stop perpetrators moving from site-to-site – but also that there are significant legal and practical complexities around this recommendation.
“The Safe and Respectful Behaviours Working Group continues to explore how the introduction of a suite of measures, which could include pre-mobilisation training and awareness programs and enhanced recruiting and pre-screening recommendations, can meet the intent of this recommendation.
“One measure being considered is having employees complete a statutory declaration prior to mobilising to site, addressing a range of standardised questions including whether they had previously been investigated for sexual harassment.”
Ms Tomkinson said the WA mining and resources sector maintained a proactive approach to promoting diversity and inclusion within its workforce.
“CME and its member companies also continue widespread and concentrated efforts to increase diversity across the WA mining and resources sector, which aligns with another recommendation to industry from the Inquiry, which was to work to lift the percentage of women in the workforce,” Ms Tomkinson said.
“Ongoing initiatives in this area include the annual Women In Resources Awards, which is entering its 14th year, and the Inspiring Girls Careers Forum, which provides female high school students with an opportunity to hear first-hand about the exciting opportunities available to them in mining and resources.
“CME will release its latest Diversity and Inclusion Report publicly over the next few weeks, tracking the progress our sector has made over the past decade and also helping identify areas where improvement is required.
“As we’ve said before, our work in the area of safe and respectful behaviours can never be considered done. The WA mining and sector is committed to continuous improvement in order to ensure that all of its 157,000-plus employees feel safe, respected and included.”