Paul Barbaro from IPA, Peter Fraser from Westpac and the Capricornia Chamber of Commerce, Mike Carter from Aurizon and Dame Quentin Bryce.
Paul Barbaro from IPA, Peter Fraser from Westpac and the Capricornia Chamber of Commerce, Mike Carter from Aurizon and Dame Quentin Bryce. Michelle Gately ROK101116bryce2

Aurizon: DV is not tolerated in community or business

WHEN Michael Carter looks at Rockhampton's Aurizon workforce, he knows the statistics suggest there are victims of domestic violence among those clocking on each day.

Apart from being something completely unacceptable in society, the executive vice president of Aurizon operations said domestic and family violence was bad for business.

He spoke on Wednesday at a breakfast hosted by the Capricornia Chamber of Commerce which aimed to raise awareness of the role workplaces could play in helping victims.

Domestic and family violence is estimated to cost the Australian economy $21.7 billion annually.

Statistics show it also reduces workplace productivity and increases staff turnover.

It's an issue which is important to businesses, with two thirds of women reporting violence by a partner also in paid employment.

On Wednesday, Mr Carter announced Aurizon's new partnership with the Women's Health Centre Rockhampton which will see a large number of staff undergo the Take a Stand program designed to change attitudes and behaviours supporting violence.

Addressing the breakfast, Mr Carter said domestic violence was something Aurizon would not accept and refused to ignore.

He said businesses needed to confront the issue, teaching leaders how to step in and help employees.

Aurizon has now formally added formal leave arrangements for domestic and family violence victims.

Mr Carter said the company had also produced a guide for its business leaders, who had also had additional training.

"What we're trying to do is acknowledge there's a serious issue in the community and that ourselves as a large employer are representative of the community and we should be part of trying to address the issue,” he said.

"Our first step has just been to create a conversation, raise awareness and indicate that we are part of the community and should take some steps.

"The second action is to take some steps, is to find ways we can show that it's real for our workforce.”

Mr Carter said Aurizon was continuing to partner with organisations, like the Women's Health Centre, and challenged other Rockhampton businesses to take action.

But Mr Carter acknowledges it's not just about protecting victims and assisting them in the workplace.

"We've got significant women (in Aurizon) so we can quickly do some analysis which would suggest a very significant number of them have been impacted at some stage (by domestic violence),” he said.

"But the flip of that is true as well. With 82% of our workforce being male, there's every likelihood a number of perpetrators are within our workforce.

"Lifting awareness of the issue is communicating the complete unacceptability of this to the victim but also the potential perpetrators.

"We think just creating the conversations will hopefully make a lot of people stop, think and understand that's not acceptable in our society and in our business.”



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