Australian Minerals Council sets code to end sexual harassment

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An iron ore truck moves along a road at Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) Christmas Creek iron ore mine south of Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia on November 17 2015. Photo taken on November 17th, 2015. REUTERS / Jim Regan / File Photo

MELBOURNE, July 7 (Reuters) – Australia’s leading mining industry body on Wednesday established a code for its members to eliminate sexual harassment, after several incidents in the state of Western Australia renewed attention at the question.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has set the framework for its more than 80 underage members and service providers who will need to confirm their commitment to adopt the code to eliminate sexual harassment.

The new standards come after Western Australian mining executives held an unprecedented press conference last month to apologize to those who have been assaulted or sexually harassed at mining sites in the State, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). (https://ab.co/3wkn5Av)

The code includes preventive measures that companies must agree to undertake, such as awareness and education, the work environment and leadership; and response measures, including those to support and protect those who report, investigation and consequences.

“Sexual harassment has profound physical, emotional and psychological impacts on those involved. It is unacceptable, against the law and must be eliminated from the culture and workplaces of our industry,” the MCA said in a statement. .

“The Industry Code sets clear expectations for businesses by developing a culture of respect that allows individuals to raise concerns in a supportive and protected manner.”

In a 2020 report, the Australian Human Rights Commission’s investigation into sexual harassment found that 74% of women in the mining industry had experienced some form of sexual harassment in the past five years, including partly due to the high gender imbalance in the sector.

Two cases of alleged sexual assault by workers at the BHP Group (BHP.AX) were made public last month. Read more

Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Michael Perry

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