Parliamentary Report Finds WA Mining Industry "Failed To Protect Women"
Several recommendations made
After almost a year of investigations, evidence of widespread sexual abuse and harassment within Western Australia’s mining industry was revealed in a parliamentary report.
Liberal MP Libby Mettam delivered the findings from the report which launched after several women approached police to detail claims of sexual assaults at major WA mines.
The report, 'Enough is Enough', studied whether current laws, regulations, policies, and practices are sufficient to protect those at fly-in, fly-out sites.
It detailed how sexual harassment was "generally accepted or overlooked" and described the "failure" of miners to recognise what was happening in their workplaces.
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WA’s mining industry failed to protect women from predatory sexual behaviour, the report found.
Mettam said she was shocked and appalled at the scale of the problem and warned the mining industry needed to do more to remove perpetrators.
“It is completely inexcusable and simply shocking that this could be taking place in the 21st century in one of the state’s most lucrative industries,” she said.
“This represents a failure of the industry to protect its workers and raises real questions about why the government was not better across this safety issue.”
The five-person committee conducting the inquiry made 24 recommendations including the mining sector should explore options for a register of sexual offenders and establishing a government forum to hear, document and acknowledge the experiences of victims.
Rio Tinto, BHP, and Fortescue Metals Group were big mining companies among those to front the committee during public hearings.
All three have confirmed they sacked workers over sexual assault and harassment.
The inquiry commenced after stories were published by The West Australian about an alleged rape at a BHP mine in Pilbara.
The incident then led to other companies admitting to incidents which too happened at their sites and united together to push for a change in the industry.
WA’s state government this week appointed PwC Australia workplace culture expert Elizabeth Shaw to review the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety protocols for responding to sexual harassment and assault incidents in the industry.
Fly-in, fly-out camps are set up in remote mining sites, providing accommodation for mine workers who fly in and out from other Australian cities.
Women currently make up approximately 20 per cent of fly-in, fly-out workers.
A report by the Human Rights Commission in 2020 found 74 per cent of women in mining had experienced harassment in the past five years.
If you or anyone you know is seeking help, there are a number of resources available:
Sexual Assault Counselling Australia: 1800 211 028
WA Sexual Assault Resource Centre: 6548 1828 or 1800 199 888
Lifeline: 13 11 14
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