Survey reveals widespread sexual harassment


A survey of our QLD members shows that mineworkers are experiencing sexual harassment at unacceptable levels, and employers are not doing enough to protect workers from instances of sexual harassment or support them to report abuse and harassment.

The MEU conducted a survey to inform our submission to the Queensland Government’s Evaluation of occupational health risks in the Queensland resources industry. The survey had over 600 workers participate.

Of survey participants, 43% of women and 18% of men said they have experienced or witnessed some form of sexual harassment within the last 12 months.

When it comes to employers putting in adequate protections, around one-third of women (32%) don’t believe that there are adequate protections put in place at their worksite to deal with sexual harassment, compared with 59% of men.

The majority of women and men are unsure or negative about whether they would be supported throughout the process when reporting instances of sexual harassment in their workplace. Among women, just 22% believe workers are supported throughout the reporting process. Among men, just 34% believed they would be supported.

Another significant finding was that the majority of workers (60% overall) also believe that contractors are more vulnerable and less likely to report instances of sexual harassment than permanent employees.

In 2021 the we provided a submission to the Western Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into Sexual Harassment against women in the FIFO mining industry through the Western Mineworkers Alliance.  The results from QLD are not as dire as those in WA, particularly in regards to physical rates of sexual harassment, verbal sexual harassment and some inappropriate behaviours. This is likely due to the QLD industry being more unionised and less remote.

However, the results from the survey in QLD confirm concerns about problems in the industry and the MEU will work with the government and employers on practical proposals to stamp out sexual harassment.

If you are experiencing bullying or harassment, please contact your Lodge or District for assistance.

You can read the full submission here.