Resources workforce safety program gets $6.5 million boost

$6.5 million for second phase of Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety program
Date: Wednesday, 04 May 2022
  • Program designed to stamp out sexual harassment and assault in the resources sector
  • Extra funding will address mental health, workplace culture, and drug and alcohol use

The McGowan Government today announced an additional $6.5 million for the Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety (MARS) program as part of the State Budget 2022-23.

Launched in December 2021, the MARS program boosts responses to mental health, workplace culture and mine safety in Western Australia’s mining sector.

The funding will support a range of projects including:

  • the Respectful Relationships program, which will implement a pilot initiative in a number of small-to-medium companies to educate the workplace about gendered drivers of violence, implement a whole-of-organisation approach to violence prevention and work to embed respectful relationships across the organisation;
  • This Mining Life program, which focuses on mental health, respect and safety training and resources;
  • Thrive at Work in Mining Masterclass Series, which is a ground-breaking workplace mental health and wellbeing initiative centred on designing work that supports employees, organisations and industry to thrive, where masterclass participants will be guided through the Thrive at Work framework to unpack how mining workplaces can support all employees; and 
  • toolkit resources to provide mining workplaces with practical tools to tackle known health, mental health and safety risks in the resources industry.

Projects expected to commence this year include a landmark research study focusing on health, wellbeing and safety in the mining sector.

Another project will be an independent review of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) capability and enforcement model for incidents of sexual harassment and assault.

The MARS program will also provide ongoing support to DMIRS’ Mentally Healthy Workplaces Grant program and support women in the mining sector through future highprofile education and awareness campaigns.

DMIRS manages the MARS program in partnership with the Mental Health Commission, the Equal Opportunity Commission, the Department of Communities and the Women’s Interests Minister.

The new expenditure follows $1.9 million in funding allocated across 2021-22 that continues to support a number of State Government initiatives.

Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston:

“The mental and physical health of WA workers is a priority for the McGowan Government and we remain committed to improving the wellbeing of resources sector workers and their families.

“Inappropriate behaviour in the workplace is unacceptable - all workers have the right to be respected and feel physically safe.

“I encourage all resources sector operators to promote mental health initiatives in the workplace and to provide suitable support to their employees.”

Comments attributed to Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk:

“The McGowan Government wants to send the unequivocal message that women are important and valued members of our resources industry workforce.

“The MARS program complements other work the State Government is doing to stamp out sexual violence by implementing the Respect@Work report recommendations and developing the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Strategy.”