The Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association (AREEA) reflects on the progress it has made in addressing sexual misconduct and harassment in the mining industry, as well as the journey still ahead.
It follows the one year anniversary of the Enough is Enough report, which was a report looking into sexual harassment against women in the fly-in fly-out (FIFO) mining industry.
The report laid down a series of recommendations to combat workplace sexual misconduct, such as recommendation 23, which states:
- The Minister for Mines and the Minister for Industrial Relations work with relevant stakeholders, including the WorkSafe Commissioner, to develop comprehensive standards and guidelines to lead the integration of sexual harassment into work health and safety practice. This should include:
- clear guides to what constitutes sexual harassment, gender harassment and other dangerous behaviours
- guidelines for dealing with identified incidents
- definitions of thresholds for various types of identified behaviour/incidents, recognising that ‘days off work’ is not a reasonable measure for these matters
- expectations for reporting to the regulator and by the regulator of the prevalence and progress in dealing with incidents.
- This material and these processes should so far as possible remove all ambiguity for mining and other companies, and include allowance for anonymous reporting by individuals.
The WA Government’s response to this was to amend workplace health and safety regulation to incorporate and clearly define sexual harassment. The amendments placed a duty of care on business operators to eliminate or minimise the risk of sexual harassment at work.
There were many more recommendations, and many more regulatory changes.
“While there is more work to do, much has been achieved over the last 12 months,” AREEA deputy chief executive officer, Tara Diamond, said.
Over the last year, AREEA formed the National Industry Taskforce on Workplace Sexual Harassment – comprising 16 resources and energy employer representatives with a range of professional disciplines and expertise.
As part of the taskforce’s mission to drive meaningful change, AREEA’s That’s why I speak up campaign was launched last November. The behavioural intervention campaign features a suite of education and awareness materials that has since been widely adopted by work sites.
As the employer body for companies from the mining, oil and gas supply chain, AREEA also released its Female Role Model Toolkit last week.
This comprehensive guide combines research, case studies and advice for AREEA members on how to support female inclusion and equity in the workforce, increase visibility of female role models and celebrate female leaders.
AREEA has also partnered with BDO REMSMART to produce a Workforce Insights survey covering sexual harassment and bullying, with policies and procedures for prevention and response.
The inaugural survey involved around 115 companies, expected to grow as it is established biannually.
Survey data will also track industry activities around a number of other Enough is Enough recommendations.
“As an industry, we are building our reputation for personal safety, with zero tolerance for harassment, bullying, gendered violence and other forms of unacceptable behaviour,” Ms Diamond said.
‘It’s fundamentally about respect for women in the workplace.”