Australia’s Minerals Council sets down code to stamp out sexual harassment

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Australia’s top mining industry body on Wednesday set out a code for its members to eliminate sexual harassment, after several incidents in Western Australia state renewed focus on the issue.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) laid out the framework for its more than 80 miner and service provider members who will be required to confirm their commitment to adopting the code to eliminate sexual harassment.

The new standards come after Western Australian mining industry executives held an unprecedented media conference last month to apologise to those who have been sexually assaulted or harassed on the state’s mine sites, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.

Two cases of alleged sexual assault by BHP Group workers became public last month

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

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

“The Industry Code establishes clear expectations on companies in developing a culture of respect that empowers individuals to raise concerns in a supportive and protected way.”

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

Two cases of alleged sexual assault by BHP Group workers became public last month.

(By Melanie Burton; Editing by Michael Perry)

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