Stamping out exploitation

Respect in the Workplace campaign launched in Tasmania

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TAKING STAND: Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett, with George the dog, and Tasmanian Women in Agriculture Emeritus chair Belinda Hazel and Rural Business Tasmania chief executive Elizabeth Skirving. Picture: Phillip Biggs

TAKING STAND: Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett, with George the dog, and Tasmanian Women in Agriculture Emeritus chair Belinda Hazel and Rural Business Tasmania chief executive Elizabeth Skirving. Picture: Phillip Biggs

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The program is a collaboration of rural stakeholders.

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Tasmania's farming community is taking a stand to stamp out bullying in the industry, after the results of a survey showed three out of four respondents had experienced harassment in some form.

The survey was conducted in 2018 by Tasmanian Women in Agriculture and follows a similar national survey highlighting the issue of exploitation and bullying in the agriculture sector.

Results from the national survey found 93 per cent of women working in agriculture had experienced sexual harassment at work.

"That statistic is appalling," Tasmanian Women in Agriculture Emeritus chairwoman Belinda Hazel said.

Those statistics spurred two years worth of work to create an anti-bullying and harassment campaign supported by the major stakeholders in Tasmania's agriculture community.

The campaign was officially launched by Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett at a function at Brickendon at Longford.

Ms Hazel said the campaign was aimed to give employers and employees tools to reduce and eliminate bullying incidents at work.

"We wanted to make it a campaign so it's proactive, and we're not reacting to a situation where somebody's been placed in a vulnerable situation," she said.

The campaign has resources including three 15-second videos representing bullying, sexual harassment and redemption in a rural workplace and includes downloadable posters.

The animated characters used in the videos and posters were developed using farm animals to reflect the rural workplace.

Rural Business Tasmania is leading the campaign's dissemination, with the resources and a checklist available on its website.

Chief executive Elizabeth Skirving said the survey results showed there were some gaps in understanding among employers and employees about harassment and bullying across the sector.

"I think it [harassment and bullying] is something that's not talked about a lot in the agricultural industry, it's something that's been underlying and there's probably an acceptance of that behaviour," Mrs Skirving said.

She said she believed instances of bullying and harassment were often swept under the carpet because people enjoy their jobs and want to keep working there, so they accept the behaviour.

However, she said this campaign was about standing up and speaking about those behaviours to reduce the instances and harm.

The campaign was funded through a grant from Worksafe Tasmania and is a collaboration between TwiA, Safe Farming, RBT, Rural Youth, the Tasmanian Agricultural Productivity Group and the TFGA.

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