What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 20 – 26 June 2022

Sexual Harassment Against Women in the FIFO Mining Industry

The WA parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment of women in the FIFO mining industry was released on 22 June 2022. The report focuses on sexual harassment and sexual assault on women in FIFO mining settings in WA and has made 24 recommendations of which 15 were directed at government agencies such as WorkSafe, and Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

The latest data from May 2022, shows Australia’s mining sector employs a record high 52,500 women among a record strong workforce of 302,600.

Women account for 18.9 per cent of the mining sector’s workforce – the highest level in history. The Productivity Commission in 2020 estimated that FIFO workers represented 63 per cent of the WA mining workforce, significantly higher than in other states.

The inquiry was told women accounted for 74 per cent of mining workers who reported sexual harassment at work.

Sexual Harassment and Assault in The FIFO Mining Industry Must Stop

On 23 June 2022 the Minister for Resources and Minister for Northern Australia commented on the final report of WA’s inquiry into sexual harassment in the mining industry. Madeleine King MP remarked that the report was “shocking reading” and that the resources industry must take action to reduce the number of incidents at work. The report is titled Enough is Enough and contains 24 recommendations to better support female workers in the mining industry. There are also calls for companies to introduce an industry-wide register for perpetrators.

Major Boost for Workplace Mental Health And Mines Safety

On 22 June, the Western Australian government released a media statement announcing grants for mental health and developments in mine safety. The workplace culture expert at PwC, Elizabeth Shaw, has been appointed to review protocols at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. She was appointed by the Mines and Petroleum Minister to conduct an independent review into protocols on sexual harassment. Ms Shaw specialises in diversity and culture change at PwC. The McGowan government is offering more grants under its $8.4 million Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety program. Mentally Healthy Workplaces Grants will now be available up to $175,000.

CFA Says Sorry After Review Lays Bare Ongoing Bullying, Harassment

Victoria’s Country Fire Authority has apologised after a new report revealed high levels of sexual harassment and bullying. The apology was made to anyone treated poorly. The report was made by former Victorian equal opportunity and human rights commissioner, Helen Szoke. It included testimonies from former volunteers of the emotional damage sustained from their time working with CFA. The report makes 10 recommendations.