Michael Johnsen MP, Member for Upper Hunter today joined with the State’s new Minister for Resources, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro, as the NSW Nationals leader took his first tour underground at Peabody’s Wambo mine in Bulga, and met with some of the mine’s newest recruits.
Mr Barilaro and Mr Johnsen both congratulated Peabody on its recent recruitment drive for Open Cut Operators which had focused on attracting significant numbers of women.
“Around 40 per cent of Wambo’s newest recruits are women which goes to show times are changing, and mining should no longer be considered only a bloke’s job,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Initiatives like this, which encourage a more diverse workforce, are just smart business as they offer opportunities to the entire talent pool, as well as give a boost to the industry.
“As a dad to three daughters, I want to see the dial shift on giving more women the opportunity to get into non-traditional jobs, including in resources,” he said.
Mr Barilaro said a recent survey by the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) showed how women’s participation in the sector needed more work.
“The research showed women’s participation in the industry was increasing and the gender pay gap shrinking, but many female respondents also said they didn’t see the industry as diverse (57 per cent) or inclusive (more than 40 per cent).
“This is against a context of seven times more women seeing diversity and inclusivity as a priority when compared to their male counterparts – it shows that the sector has some more work to do.
“As a former Skills Minister, I was proud of the work I did to encourage more women into trades and I’ll absolutely bring that momentum to the new job,” he said.
In congratulating Peabody today, Mr Johnsen encouraged women and girls across NSW to consider a career in mining.
“Recruitment initiatives like this are a wonderful way to help open the door for women in regional and rural industries,” Mr Johnsen said.
“I really encourage local women and girls to consider a career in industries like our local mining which can offer tremendous opportunities.
Mr Johnsen continued, saying that as the local mining sector develops there will be more opportunities for greater diversity and opportunity in the workplace.
“It is a great sign for the mining industry that more women are actively taking up a career in our mines,” he said.
“We know that a more diverse workforce will strengthen our mining sector and ensure we are recruiting from a bigger talent pool out of our local communities,” Mr Johnsen said.
Senior Vice President Underground Operations at Peabody Australia Peter Baker said the company have worked hard to ensure recruitment strategies actively reach out to the women in the local community.
“Our new recruits have come across to mining from careers like midwifery, the beauty industry and massage therapy – and they haven’t looked back.”
“The more diverse we make our workplaces, the happier and more productive our employees are – not only is it the right to do, it makes good business sense.
“One day soon we hope to appoint our first all-female underground mining crew.”