The State Government says it hopes two new programs aimed at addressing harassment within the state’s resource sector will protect employees and attract more women into the field.
Announced on Tuesday, the ‘SPEAK UP, REPORT IT’ campaign will involve an all-hours anonymous harassment-reporting hotline, while the ‘Respect in Mining’ program will seek to inform employees on respectful conduct in the workplace.
A WA parliamentary inquiry on the topic, and Rio-Tinto’s own internal report in 2022, revealed some harrowing statistics about a culture of sexism, racism, and bullying within the mining industry.
The report showed more than one-in-three of the female employees they surveyed, aged 25-34, had experienced some form of sexual harassment at work.
Maddy Miller, 22, was a utility worker for mining company ESS, and says the male-dominated culture on site is unmissable.
“I have so many stories about me and the girls feeling uncomfortable. [The men] sometimes look at you like you’re just a piece of meat,” she says.
Mining executive Jenn Morris OAM says the industry generally welcomes these reports and campaigns as important avenues for change.
“I think there’s a changing of the guard across corporate Australia generally about what’s expected and what’s not expected from behaviour in the workplace,” Ms Morris says.
“Everyone deserves to go to work and for it to be a very safe workplace, and that includes when you’re up at site on FIFO.”
McMahon Underground truckie Jodi McCagh says she loves everything about her FIFO lifestyle.
“Yep, there is a culture shock for some of the younger ones because it’s a male environment. It’s a male’s job, but I can always give it as good as I get,” she says.
“The culture is actually slowly changing. There’s more women getting the chance to move up and do different jobs. The way they change the culture is by putting more women in there, and the mining industry are already doing that.”