Jan 20, 2021

Action on sexual harassment findings

Action on sexual harassment findings

The Australian minerals industry has committed to action to eliminate workplace sexual harassment.

It’s in response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry (2020) findings.

The Commission’s report found 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. 

It was clear that the industry needed to lead a decisive response and take stronger action, said Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) CEO Tania Constable.

Tania Constable

“This includes expanding the scope of the minerals industry’s safety and health policy and releasing a strong and direct statement on the importance of eliminating sexual harassment in Australian mining workplaces,” Ms Constable said.

“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 MCA Board – will ensure Australian mining companies can work together to end unacceptable and illegal behaviour.”

They supported the approach by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, outlined to the MCA Board last year, that workplace sexual harassment was not inevitable or acceptable, and was preventable, said Ms Constable.

“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,” she said.

“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.

“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 the workplace, Ms Constable said.