QLD minister pushes for more women in mining

A Queensland minister wants more women participating in the mining industry.

As he stood in Myne Start’s dark simulated underground training site, the only light came from lamps worn by women.

Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek was in Mackay on Monday and said he would like to see more women at the coal face.

He was in Mackay to launch the Women in Resources Sector Strategy (WRSS) program, the Daily Mercury reported.

The program will allot $100,000 per year over three years to fund an plan that involves four months of training for 20 young Mackay women.

“We’re aiming to retain women already working in the resources industry by establishing support channels and further developing their skills and leadership qualities,” Langbroek said.

He also encouraged everyone to consider a career in mining in Queensland, saying opportunities still exist in spite of the mining downturn.

“People around the world want our resources, we have lots of them and we need to make sure we have people who are trained and skilled to deliver those resources to the rest of the world.

“We need to make sure that we have everybody involved in our economy…there is no doubt there has been a shortage of women in the resource sector,” he said.

Depsite his optimism, recent reports suggest the Queensland mining sector is doing it tough. It was reported yesterday the mining industry downturn is affecting Australia's coal sector the most as miners operate on tighter margins.

NSW and Queensland has lost an estimated 9000 jobs over the past 18 months.

More than 1000 jobs were lost in a week in Queensland recently, with GlencoreXstrata, Peabody Energy and Hastings Deering all slashing jobs. GlencoreXstrata also slashed jobs at its Ravensworth mine.

Queensland Resource Council’s Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy director Roger Atkins said male miners respected female miners on modern mine sites.

“I must say our major companies are so far ahead of public perception,” Atkins said.

Three students from Pioneer State High School attended the launch. They are all interested in a mining career.

While venturing into a male-dominated industry was the biggest fear for the current crop of female students, Langbroek and Atkins said the situation would improve as more women came in.

A report recently said women make up 15.1 per cent of the mining force. The report, released by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, aimed to deal with the stereotypes around the nature of 'women's work' in mining, utility and construction sectors.

A study by the Australasian Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health in conjunction with Thiess showed women cope better than men with the FIFO lifestyle.

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