WA Government pushes to tackle sexual harassment in mining

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Sunday, 23 April, 2023 - 12:30
Policy & legislation
Western Australia

The Western Australian Government’s push to stamp out sexual violence and drive cultural change in the state’s mining sector is making progress through a ‘Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety’ (MARS) program.

Introduced in 2021, the MARS program has initiated a number of projects including the launch of a study by The Centre for Transformative Work Design, as part of the Future of Work Institute at Curtin University.

The survey seeks to gain a better understanding of worker experiences in WA’s mining industry.

Other MARS program initiatives include:

  • A leadership summit scheduled for 1 August 2023 aims to educate and empower leaders to take meaningful action on safe and respectful workplaces. The summit will bring together senior executives, mine managers, supervisors, health and safety representatives and safety professionals
  • The Psychosocial Risk Management Program (PRMP) being delivered by FIFO Focus in partnership with the Australian Institute of Health & Safety (AIHS) has so far seen four cohorts either start or complete the program. The PRMP aims to enhance the mining industry’s ability to identify and assess psychosocial hazards and develop strategies to eliminate, minimise or reduce their impact
  • A recently launched Responding to, Managing and Investigating Sexual Harassment course, also delivered by FIFO Focus and their consortium partners, has attracted national attention. The program equips participants to respond to and conduct trauma-informed sexual harassment investigations in the workplace, and
  • A program run by the Mining and Energy Union to develop sexual harassment awareness training for mine workers which has completed three pilot sessions across the State.

A number of other MARS program initiatives are being rolled out over the coming months in support of the government’s response to the 2022 WA Parliamentary Inquiry into sexual harassment against women in the fly-in, fly-out mining industry.

“We need to encourage more women to join the mining industry by treating them with respect, ensuring their safety and providing support,” said WA Women’s Interests Minister Sue Ellery.

“These initiatives demonstrate the McGowan Government’s commitment to ensuring the Western Australian resources sector offers a friendly, accommodating and empowering workplace for women.”