Resources sector calls for more protection for employees from abusive and illegal activist behaviour

  • Posted 20 December, 2021
  • Media Releases

20 December

Click here for photo of QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane.


The ongoing abuse, harassment and intimidation of female and male employees by activists trespassing on or around mine sites must be taken more seriously by the courts, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said today.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said courts need to impose appropriate penalties that reflect the seriousness of the offences being committed by a small group of activists, such as locking onto rail lines and physically and verbally intimidating resources workers.

“In some cases, women are being subjected to disgraceful sexual slurs, which are completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated in any workplace,” he said.

Mr Macfarlane said the resources sector continues to be the glue that has held the Queensland economy together during Covid-19, adding an extra $2.9 billion in coal and oil royalties to the state budget in the current financial year.

“Our sector is already facing a major skills shortage due to border closures and other impacts from Covid, so the last thing we need is for potential employees to reject a career in our sector because they don’t want to be harassed by protestors,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“People are entitled to protest lawfully but they’re not entitled to break the law and threaten the health and wellbeing and jobs of our workers, which has been going on for far too long.

“The penalties being imposed are lenient and are not acting as a deterrent.

“In some cases, activists are not even having a conviction recorded against them, so there are no consequences for verbally and physically harassing our employees.”

Mr Macfarlane said the resources sector has a zero-tolerance policy for any form of intimidation or abuse of people in the workplace, and there are consequences for employees if this behaviour occurs.

“It’s extremely disappointing that the situation at some of our sites has escalated – particularly at Bravus’ Carmichael Mine but also at some of our rail and port facilities – to the point where we have resources workers, in some cases female employees, who feel unsafe going to work,” he said.

“This is not acceptable. If the penalties for anti-social and threatening behaviour under current laws are not enough of a deterrent, especially to stop the verbal abuse and intimidation of women, then the laws need to be strengthened.

“That’s what our industry will be calling for if there isn’t immediate action to address what is an escalating issue.”