Major boost for workplace mental health and mines safety

Major boost for workplace mental health and mines safety

Sexual violence is not something anyone should be exposed to, let alone in the workplace. However, it is a harsh reality that it is a problem across many industries.

As Minister for Women’s Interests, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Elizabeth Shaw on a number of occasions and have great confidence in her credentials on gender equality.

The appointment of an independent expert to examine the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s processes for handling these incidents will be invaluable and help drive the change that is required.

It is vital that mine sites are places women want to work and where they will feel safe, but it is also worth noting that companies with greater diversity are more profitable and productive.

The McGowan Government has announced two major workplace initiatives that will further support the health and safety of Western Australian workers.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston has appointed an independent expert to review the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) protocols for responding to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the mining industry.

Elizabeth Shaw, who specialises in diversity, inclusion, culture and change at PwC Australia, will review DMIRS’ enforcement model, organisational capabilities and regulatory responses to these incidents on mine sites. Review findings are expected to be delivered in late 2022.

The McGowan Government has also announced the successful applicants for the Mentally Healthy Workplaces Grant program.

The WA Centre for Rural Health, South West Aboriginal Medical Service, Juniper and People Diagnostix, and Pivot Support Services will share around $500,000 in funding per year.

Grant applicants were offered $175,000 per year for up to four years for initiatives that promote and support the positive aspects of work and worker wellbeing.

As part of the McGowan Government’s $8.4 million Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety (MARS) program, two further initiatives targeting mining workplaces were also approved.

A joint project between the Australian Institute of Health & Safety and PerMentis (FIFO Focus), and Lifeline WA’s Resourceful Mind program will share $350,000 in total funding per year.

The MARS program is a multi-agency collaboration between DMIRS, the Mental Health Commission, Department of Communities and the Equal Opportunity Commission. It aims to boost responses to mental health, workplace culture and safety in WA’s mining sector.

For more information on the MARS program, visit: Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety (MARS) Program (www.wa.gov.au)

For more information on the Mentally Healthy Workplaces Grant Program, visit: https://www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/dmirs/mentally-healthy-workplaces-grant-program