WA mining survey to probe FIFO culture | Canberra weather


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A parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment of women in Western Australia’s mining industry will examine workplace culture and drug and alcohol policies. The terms of reference for the investigation were released on Wednesday by the Standing Committee on Community Development and Justice. It will examine whether current laws, regulations, policies and practices are adequate to protect workers at arrival and departure sites by air. The committee, chaired by Deputy Liberal Leader Libby Mettam, will also examine workplace culture, lists, drug and alcohol policies and recruiting practices. Written submissions from members of the public will be accepted until August 6. Several women have come to police in recent weeks to detail allegations of sexual assault at major mines in Washington state. Australia’s mining industry has pledged it will take action to protect workers. Senior executives from BHP, Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group, Woodside and Newmont held a joint press conference last month to apologize to victims of harassment and recall calls for a parliamentary inquiry into the matter. BHP earlier this year introduced alcohol limits for workers in its camps amid concerns about a culture of heavy drinking. The Minerals Council of Australia on Wednesday released a national industry code on eliminating sexual harassment, stressing that all employee allegations should be treated with seriousness, confidentiality and sensitivity. Member companies are required under the code to provide alternative working arrangements to help victims, facilitate access to support services and take reasonable steps to protect individuals from “victimization or retaliation”. Criminal conduct must be reported to authorities and the results of completed investigations must be communicated in a timely manner. The code also encourages companies to “avoid the use of nondisclosure clauses in any agreement with people affected by sexual harassment.” “Sexual harassment has a profound physical, emotional and psychological impact on those affected. It is unacceptable, against the law and must be eliminated from the culture and workplaces of our industry, ”the council said. “A consistent national approach allows all employers and workers to have the same expectations of respectful workplaces, regardless of location, job, gender or seniority. A working group on “safe and respectful behavior” has been set up by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy. The group plans to develop a code of conduct that will focus on employee behavior after hours on site, at external events and on social media. A report by the Human Rights Commission last year found that 74 percent of women in the mining sector had experienced harassment in the past five years. Associated Australian Press



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