Western Australian mining minister supports the introduction of gender quotas in the mining industry
A recent report has revealed that Western Australia’s mining culture is a cesspool of predatory sexual behaviour towards women.
Washington State Mining Minister Bill Johnston believes the best way to tackle the problem is to get more women involved.
The Labor MP told the Western Australian Parliament that the state government should support gender quotas to help companies tackle sexual harassment and harassment in the mining sector.
“The problems in the FIFO industry are terrible and we need to fix them,” he said, according to The West .
“One of the ways we are going to fix them is to increase the number of women in the sector.
“Quotas will work. I suggest the opposition agree to quotas.”
Johnston’s proposal for gender quotas follows a parliamentary enquiry that recommended the mining sector introduce a sex offender register.
The 178-page report in June said the mining sector “perpetuates a culture that does not protect women”.
One of the 24 recommendations recommended in the report to correct predatory behaviour was to increase the number of women in the industry.
The report recommended: “Part of this should include greater efforts to increase the participation of women in the workforce, with a particular focus on management and supervisory positions at the site level.”
The mining minister took the opportunity to praise the already established sex quotas in Washington state as an example of the cultural shift brought about by gender targets.
“The introduction of quotas has been an important component of the culture shift in the Labor Party,” the politician said in a speech to the Western Australian Parliament last week.
“The industry should consider all the tools available to them to increase the number of women in the sector.”
The mining minister added that setting gender targets was a way for the industry to have a deliberate approach to entrenching its culture for women.
In June, a committee chaired by Liberal MP Libby Mettam submitted its report after almost a year-long investigation.
The investigation was prompted by a string of women who had made numerous complaints to police alleging sexual harassment at major mines in Western Australia.
In June, Mettam told the Washington State Parliament that she was appalled by the extent of the predatory culture in the mining industry.
According to The Guardian , Labor spokesman Mark Folkard said female workers had faced targeted violence, harassment, grooming and even threats to their lives.
“I believe there are serious sexual predators lurking in this sector,” he said, according to The Guardian .
“They have been there for years and still go unpunished.”
According to Johnston, equalising the numbers of women and men could be the key to this positive change.
“Quotas are a clear sign that the organisation wants to change its culture,” he said.
“When I joined the Labour Party back in 1983, it was a very different organisation to what it is now. We have our own sins to atone for, but at least we have changed our culture.”