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CME statement re establishment of Parliamentary Inquiry

Ensuring the health and safety of our people working in the resources sector is the utmost priority for The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (CME) and its member companies.   We are committed to actively engaging and participating fully in the Parliamentary Inquiry established today into inappropriate behaviour towards women in the sector.  

CME Chief Executive Paul Everingham said the sector wants to be open and transparent in its desire to improve safety for women at operations around WA.  The Inquiry will have an important role in identifying potential changes to facilities, policies and procedures and highlight a range of prevention and risk mitigation strategies which aim to achieve safer outcomes. 

“As I’ve said previously, any instances of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment are totally unacceptable” Mr Everingham said. 

“We apologise to anyone who has experienced this type of behaviour in our sector.  To all of those who have come forward to report it, we thank you for your bravery, and to those who previously haven’t felt safe or supported enough to come forward, please know that we are committed to providing an environment in which you feel safe to do so. 

“I’d like to recognise Libby Mettam MLA, who proposed this Inquiry, and also the Premier Mark McGowan for his support of it. 

“Our aim is for all women to feel safe on all of our sites and facilities across WA at all times,” 

Mr Everingham said CME and its member companies would continue their own efforts to implement changes in parallel to the inquiry. 

This will include activities through CME’s Safe and Respectful Behaviors Working Group involving senior work, health and safety and diversity and inclusion representatives from a range of member companies. 

Among the initiatives the working group will focus on: 

  • A code of conduct for employees of member companies –  focused on behaviour in ‘work-adjacent’ settings such as external events, after hours on site and on social media. This will include particular considerations for contractors and third parties. 
  • Driving implementation of a wide range of safety controls for the sector – including prevention of unacceptable behaviour, best practice risk mitigation and considerations of best practice strategies for responding to allegations and instances of unacceptable behaviour. 

“For several decades, but particularly over the past 20 years, many people within our sector have worked very hard to make mining and resources a more inclusive and diverse environment,” Mr Everingham said. 

“But we know we still have a significant amount of work to do. 

“The Safe and Respectful Behaviours Working Group is an initiative that has been months in the making. CME’s WHS Committee identified the need for greater focus in this specific area in early 2021, in line with our long term broader commitment to psychological safety. 

“It’s not a direct result of recent media reporting into behaviours towards women in our sector but certainly those reports have brought the need for such a working group into sharper focus.” 

Mr Everingham said WA’s resources sector would take on board any recommendations that may arise from the Inquiry. 

“We look at this Inquiry as an opportunity to improve what we do,” Mr Everingham said. 

“We are committed to eliminating any instance of these behaviours in our workforce. Our industry has long been recognised for our leading risk management capabilities and ability to respond rapidly to health and safety risks. We are working rapidly to apply these skills and expertise to ensure a swift and effective response and protect the safety of our people. 

“To have fresh eyes from outside the sector look at how we manage our workforce and its safety is a healthy thing. 

“Recommendations for change that are practical and which would achieve positive outcomes are certainly ones we would act upon.”