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Eliminating sexual harassment for a safer Australian mining industry

Taking a stance on eliminating sexual harassment in mining workplaces
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Eliminating sexual harassment for a safer Australian mining industry

Eliminating sexual harassment for a safer Australian mining industry

27 January 2021

By Siobhann Provost

The Australian minerals industry is taking a strong stance on eliminating sexual harassment in Australian mining workplaces and has expanded the industry’s safety and health policy as well as a direct statement on its importance.

Tania Constable, chief executive officer of the Mineral Council of Australia (MCA), said: “The Australian minerals industry will be taking action to eliminate workplace sexual harassment in its response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry (2020) findings.”

“Safety is the core value of the Australian minerals industry and a safe and fair workplace is essential,” said Tania.

The Commission’s report found that 40 per cent of the minerals industry workforce had experienced some form of sexual harassment in the past five years, with women more than twice as likely as men to be sexually harassed.

Tania said: “It is clear that the industry needs to lead a decisive response and take stronger action.”

The Safe, Healthy and Respectful Workplaces policy is focused on building and sustaining respectful workplaces. Alongside the industry’s commitment to eliminating sexual harassment it will ensure Australian mining companies can work together to end unacceptable and illegal behaviour.

“Our workers are our greatest asset and must be valued, respected and protected,” said Tania.

Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, outlined to the MCA Board last year that workplace sexual harassment is not inevitable or acceptable, and is preventable.

Following Commissioner Jenkins’ report, the MCA established a Respect@Work Taskforce to broaden its safety and health policy and develop a commitment to eliminating sexual harassment.

The taskforce reports to the MCA national safety and health working group, building on the minerals sector’s strong and positive safety culture and systems to make changes focused on care for the whole person.

Tania said: “Sending a clear message across the industry and the community that sexual harassment is unacceptable and will not be tolerated will put the sector on the right path for change.”

The industry’s commitment will be implemented through an industry code and toolkit to establish clear expectations and protocols on preventing and responding to sexual harassment in our workplaces.

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