Mining sector strives to eliminate sexual harassment

Thursday, 21 January, 2021

Mining sector strives to eliminate sexual harassment

Findings from the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry (2020) have revealed that 40% of the minerals industry workforce has experienced some form of sexual harassment in the past five years, with women more than twice as likely as men to be sexually harassed.

In response to these findings, the Australian minerals industry will be taking action to eliminate workplace sexual harassment, by expanding the scope of the industry’s safety and health policy and releasing a strong and direct statement on the importance of eliminating sexual harassment in Australian mining workplaces.

The Safe, Healthy and Respectful Workplaces policy is focused on building and sustaining respectful workplaces and, combined with the industry’s commitment to eliminating sexual harassment — endorsed by the board of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) — it will ensure Australian mining companies can work together to end unacceptable and illegal behaviour.

In 2020, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins outlined to the MCA board that workplace sexual harassment is not inevitable or acceptable, and is preventable. Following the release of 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, sending a clear message across the industry and the community that sexual harassment is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. 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 the workplace.

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