The Queensland Resources Council has launched a landmark Blueprint for Mental Health and Wellbeing as a guide for best practice for the sector that employs tens of thousands of Queenslanders.
QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said the mental and physical health of employees in the resources sector was paramount and the release of the blueprint in Mental Health Week was a sign of industry’s commitment to the workforce.
“The Blueprint for Mental Health and Wellbeing provides a framework for the sector to promote health and wellbeing, as well as reduce the risks and impacts of mental illness,” Mr Roche said.
“It identifies key directions for the Queensland resources sector and promotes evidence-based strategies that can be applied at workplaces across the state.
“The resources sector takes mental health seriously and already implements some very good initiatives and services to mitigate the risk of problems in its workforces.
“Mental health is a community-wide issue. Given there is a growing incidence of mental ill health in the broader community it’s likely that there will be similar issues in our sector, so we accept that across the board the challenge is to take the services and programs provided for employees to the next level.”
Mr Roche said no other sector was doing more than resources to ensure that mental health was front and centre as a priority for the safety and wellbeing of its workforce.
He said the QRC recognised there were challenges associated with workers when their jobs included extended and regular absences from family and home.
“QRC’s submission to the parliamentary inquiry into FIFO and long-distance commuting workers gave evidence that the mental health impacts on those in the resources sector were no higher than they were for the general population,” Mr Roche said.
“That’s supported by research, numerous federal and state government inquiries, and a review undertaken by the Australian Institute of Family Studies just last year, which found the issue of mental ill health is no greater in the resources sector.”
QRC’s Blueprint for Mental Health and Wellbeing spells out goals and strategies for the promotion of health, prevention of mental health problems and response to those in need.
It also describes programs for supporting return to work, underpinned by an emphasis on robust evaluation. The blueprint recognises that the support for workers in remote environments and their families is a key priority and ongoing challenge for the industry.
The QRC blueprint was developed based on work by the Minerals Council of Australia and work initiated by the NSW Minerals Council in collaboration with the Institute for Energy and Resources and the Centre for Resources Health and Safety at the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Institute of Mental Health.