Australia inquiry says miners fail to protect women, backs offender register

Author of the article: Reuters Praveen Menon and Byron Kaye SYDNEY — Australia’s mining industry should consider a register of sexual harassment perpetrators to help rein in widespread instances of abuse, a state government report said on Thursday, detailing cases of “horrifying” and “appalling” behavior against women. The inquiry by mineral-rich Western Australia, home to…
Australia inquiry says miners fail to protect women, backs offender register

Author of the article:

Reuters

Praveen Menon and Byron Kaye

SYDNEY — Australia’s mining industry should consider a register of sexual harassment perpetrators to help rein in widespread instances of abuse, a state government report said on Thursday, detailing cases of “horrifying” and “appalling” behavior against women.

The inquiry by mineral-rich Western Australia, home to the bulk of the country’s iron ore industry, also criticized mining giants such as BHP and Rio Tinto for ignoring or overlooking unlawful and criminal behavior.

The release of the report followed a year-long investigation into concerns about a culture of sexism and bullying that fueled public anger about workplace conditions last year, leading to what has been called Australia’s MeToo moment. .

Australia accounts for about half of the world’s iron ore exports and women have long complained of sexual harassment in so-called “fly in, fly out” mining camps, temporary accommodation set up at remote mines to house workers.

“I was shocked and appalled well beyond expectations by the size and depth of the problem,” Committee Chair Libby Mettam said in a speech in parliament as she tabled the report.

“We were told how sexual harassment is generally accepted or overlooked.”

Examples cited in the report included stalking, texting of lewd material, requests for sexual favors in return for a permanent job and sexual assaults.

One woman told the inquiry how she was knocked unconscious in her accommodation hut and awoke to find her jeans and underpants around her ankles, leaving her feeling “sick, ashamed, violated, dirty and very confused.”

“We heard of powerplay behavior known as ‘shoveling’ where iron ore would be dumped on the cab of trucks operated by women if they didn’t comply with sexual requests,” the report said.

Individuals who spoke to the committee said perpetrators of serious harassment simply changed worksites or were employed with a different company, the report said.

Among 24 recommendations, it proposed the industry consider an offender register or other options “which could operate effectively and fairly to prevent habitual sexual harassment offenders continuing to be re-employed.”

It also recommended establishing a forum to document victims’ historical experiences, and explore opportunities for redress, such as formal apologies and compensation.

Other proposals related to improved reporting of harassment, better training for workers and managers, improved accommodation and security at mine camps as well as restrictions on drinking.

CULTURE OF ABUSE

Major global miners including BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue made submissions to the inquiry, most of them acknowledging that sexual harassment is rife at mining camps in Western Australia, and promising reforms.

But bullying and abuse have continued in the sector over the past 18 months.

Rio Tinto said in a statement that it would closely study the recommendations contained in the report.

Rio published its own report in February which found that nearly 30% of women had experienced sexual harassment at work, with 21 women reporting actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.

Western Australia’s mining sector employs about 150,000 people and generated A$208 billion ($143 billion) in export revenue in 2020/21. (Reporting by Praveen Menon and Byron Kaye; Editing by Richard Pullin)

Financial Post Top Stories

Sign up to receive the daily top stories from the Financial Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

Read More

Total
0
Shares
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts
European Gas Jumps 24% as Russia Cuts Off Poland, Bulgaria
Read More

European Gas Jumps 24% as Russia Cuts Off Poland, Bulgaria

Author of the article: Bloomberg News Vanessa Dezem and Rachel Morison (Bloomberg) — European gas pared gains, as traders bet that top-buyer Germany will continue to receive shipments from Russia, following a halt in flows to Poland and Bulgaria amid a dispute over fuel payments. German utility Uniper SE reiterated that it’s possible to pay…
Baker Hughes Warns of Broad Inflation After Missing Estimates
Read More

Baker Hughes Warns of Broad Inflation After Missing Estimates

Author of the article: Bloomberg News David Wethe (Bloomberg) — Baker Hughes Co. tumbled by the most in two years after warning that sales in Russia would continue to erode amid sanctions on the warring nation. The world’s No. 2 oilfield contractor has struggled to move people and equipment into Russia, one of the biggest…
U.S. forms ‘friendly’ coalition to secure critical minerals: Andy Home
Read More

U.S. forms ‘friendly’ coalition to secure critical minerals: Andy Home

Author of the article: LONDON — A metallic NATO is starting to take shape, though no-one is calling it that just yet. The Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) is in theory open to all countries that are committed to “responsible critical mineral supply chains to support economic prosperity and climate objectives.” But the coalition assembled by…
European lottery group Allwyn to list on NYSE with blank check firm Cohn Robbins
Read More

European lottery group Allwyn to list on NYSE with blank check firm Cohn Robbins

Author of the article: PRAGUE — Czech businessman Karel Komarek’s European lottery group Allwyn Entertainment will list on the New York Stock Exchange in combination with blank check acquisition company Cohn Robbins Holdings Corp, the companies said on Friday. The transaction will put the combined firm’s enterprise value at approximately $9.3 billion, they said in…