Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti is failing to acknowledge the seriousness of bullying and harassment claims at Southern Ports Authority Port of Esperance after refusing to commit to visiting the town, according to Peter Rundle MLA and Hon Colin de Grussa MLA.
Member for Roe Mr Rundle questioned the Minister in Parliament last week, asking when she would visit Esperance to discuss these matters directly with distressed employees.
“I had to ask the Minister twice when she intended to visit Esperance and she refused to commit to a visit,” Mr Rundle said.
“Staff members of SPA are at the end of their tether, and at the very least the Minister should offer them the courtesy of meeting with them directly.”
Mr Rundle also asked the Minister what assurances she had sought from SPA that it was working to remedy psychosocial hazards identified by Worksafe.
“While the Minister acknowledged this was a very serious issue, she has not outlined how these issues would be dealt with and what action SPA were taking to improve their work culture,” Mr Rundle said.
Member for the Agricultural Region Mr de Grussa also questioned the Minister in Parliament last week, and asked if she would initiate a public inquiry into the matter.
“By failing to commit to visiting Esperance, or initiating a public inquiry, the Minister has effectively dismissed the people who have been bullied in the workplace,” Mr de Grussa said.
Minister Saffioti said that a report reviewing the amalgamation of the Southern Ports Authority found that there were no systematic issues of bullying.
The review’s terms of reference did not allow for investigation into bullying or harassment claims, despite numerous employees of SPA raising concerns about systematic bullying and poor workplace culture during the process.
“The Minister has obviously failed to grasp just how serious these bullying and harassment claims are, and I urge her to meet with past and present SPA staff as soon as possible,” Mr de Grussa said.
“The Government cannot keep their head in the sand over this, and need to ensure that staff at SPA can work in a safe environment that fosters personal wellbeing,” Mr Rundle said.