Leaders from MinRes shared their insights at Tuesday’s Mining Industry Summit: Driving Respect at Optus Stadium, which brought together more than 1,100 delegates from across WA’s resources sector.
The event, part of the WA Government’s response to the Enough is Enough report, aimed to inspire and empower industry leaders to continue to take action to ensure safe and respectful workplaces.
MinRes Executive General Manager, People Andrea Chapman delivered a “lightening talk” that focused on MinRes’ response to the parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment of women in the FIFO mining industry.
This included gender safety audits and focus groups that listened to the experiences of women at MinRes and identified improvements to the design and operation of accommodation villages.
That feedback was embedded into the company’s Village Upgrade Strategy, which has seen a number of wellbeing and safety upgrades implemented in recent months, with more planned in FY24.
Andrea outlined how the significant investment in two accommodation resorts at the Onslow Iron project in the Pilbara aimed to create safer and more diverse communities.
“What we have done, though, to really demonstrate to our people that inclusivity is really important to us, and something that I am so proud of is the #IamMinRes campaign,” she said.
“This is a campaign that absolutely pays respect to our people that work for us and recognises they are so much more than the job title that they have at work. That all of us bring our own story.”
MinRes Manager Orebody Knowledge and Operational Support Ivy Chen spoke on a panel that focused on inclusive and diverse workplaces, alongside WA Liberal Party leader Libby Mettam and WA Equal Opportunity Commissioner Dr John Byrne.
Ivy encouraged employers to “take a risk” and “pick someone who is slightly different, like my managers did over 30 years ago when they picked this young Asian geologist”.
Mines Minister Bill Johnston and Women’s Interests Minister Sue Ellery announced a new Speak Up, Report It advertising campaign that would reinforce the message that harassment and bullying in the sector is unacceptable.
Professor Sharon Parker, from Curtin University’s Centre for Transformative Work Design, presented early data from the Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety (MARTS) Program.
The survey of 3,200 WA mining workers found that in the past year, 36 per cent of women had experienced sexist hostility and 23.5 per cent had experienced sexual hostility, compared to 9.1 per cent and 12.1 per cent of men respectively.
“As we heard today, many stakeholders in the sector… are working really hard to improve the mining workers’ experiences, but it is clear from our research… that more needs to be done,” Prof Parker said.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins told the attendees that “cultural change was a long game, but change takes action”.
“It’s been wonderful to see the action over the last five years to bring us to today, and particularly in WA. No, we’re not there yet, but at least we’re trying to make moves towards that change,” she said.