Mining mental health program gets $6.5 million boost

safety inquiry mining sector

The Western Australia Government has announced a funding boost for the Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety (MARS) program as part of the 2022–23 state budget.

The $6.5 million is set to fund the second phase of the MARS program, which was initially launched in December 2021 to increase responses to mental health, workplace culture and safety within the mining sector.

Projects funded by the MARS program include:

  • the respectful relationships program
  • this mining life program
  • thrive at work in mining masterclass series
  • toolkit resources to provide mining workplaces with practical tools to tackle known health, mental health and safety risks in the resources industry.

In addition to the projects set to commence this year, there will also be a landmark study that focuses on the health, wellbeing and safety within the mining sector.

WA Mines and Petroleum and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston spoke in support of the State Government’s commitment to the MARS program.

“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,” he said.

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

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) will also come under review as part of the MARS program, to assess the capability and enforcement model for incidents of sexual harassment and assault.

WA Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk spoke on the ongoing support to the women in the mining sector through the MARS program’s commitment to providing future high-profile education and awareness campaigns.

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

“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.”

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