New programs unveiled to safeguard WA resources sector workers

Image credit: Bill Johnston, Twitter

The Western Australian (WA) Government has launched two new programs as part of a plan to develop safer workplaces and drive cultural change within the WA resources sector.

One of the programs, the SPEAK UP, REPORT IT campaign, highlights the unacceptable nature of workplace sexual harassment and bullying, reminding executives, mine operators, and workers to report workplace sexual harassment to WorkSafe.

“The SPEAK UP, REPORT IT campaign highlights the Cook Government’s ongoing commitment to promote workplace cultures that support inclusivity, respect and safety,” Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said.

According to the WA Government, the campaign is one of its initiatives in response to recommendations from the Parliament Inquiry on the fly-in, fly-out mining sector.


“We all have a responsibility to speak out against sexual harassment and other unacceptable workplace behaviours,” Minister Johnston stated.

“It is vital there is a clear point of contact for those that experience sexual harassment at work. Sexual harassment is a work health and safety issue and we must confront it,” the Minister added.

WorkSafe WA’s 24/7 hotline, which allows callers to remain anonymous, has now been expanded to help victims and bystanders of workplace harassment or bullying.

Two additional employees have been hired to triage incoming calls, and WorkSafe has offered specific training to ensure that the service is delivered in a trauma-informed manner.

“Everyone has a right to feel safe and supported at work. Workplace sexual harassment is not a women’s issue – it is a societal issue that all organisations, employers and individuals have a responsibility to address,” Women’s Interests Minister Sue Ellery said.

The hotline and campaign are part of the State Government’s Mental Awareness, Respect, and Safety program, which aims to improve responses to mental health, workplace culture, and mine safety.

Additionally, the State Government has launched the Respect in Mining program.

The program seeks to raise awareness and knowledge about the impact of gender inequality on women’s safety and the impact of gendered leadership divisions in the resources sector.

Mining company Gold Fields Australia will take part in a 12-month test of the program throughout its WA operations, which will commence in early 2024.

Gold Fields Australia Executive Vice President Stuart Mathews commented, “Partnering with the Cook Government to pilot the Respect in Mining program will continue to build on the Respectful Workplaces program we have developed and started rolling out with the Gold Fields workforce, our business partners and the broader industry.”

“I am pleased that Gold Fields Australia have agreed to pilot the Respect in Mining program and work with us to drive cultural change and help stamp out unacceptable behaviour,” Minister Ellery said.

The State Government said Curtin University‘s Collaboration for Evidence, Research, and Impact in Public Health has conducted program research and development, creating a suite of tools and materials for the pilot.

These tools assist in reviewing new policies and procedures and monitoring the general shift in workplace culture to enhance practice.

The Respect in Mining program is an initiative of the Mental Awareness, Respect, and Safety program and is based on the concepts of the Department of Communities’ Respectful Relationships program.

“The program is one of many initiatives being undertaken by the Cook Government that demonstrate our commitment to ensuring the Western Australian resources sector offers a safe and empowering workplace for all staff,” Minister Ellery added.