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Addressing Sexual Harassment with Company ASH Policy

by PNG Business News - July 15, 2021

Photo: Nambawan Supa Limited, Cardno, IEA, Pacific Towing are amongst 18 BCFW member organizations who are implementing the ASH Policy to ensure safe workplaces.

Sexual Harassment is a problem not just for employEES but also for employERS. Did you know that there are real and significant business costs associated with Sexual Harassment? Statistics show that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men experience sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Business Case for Addressing Sexual Harassment

In addition to the moral imperative for addressing Sexual Harassment there is also a strong business case.  Adverse Results may include:

  • High levels of stress and demotivation among employees
  • Reduced productivity
  • Compromised teamwork Increased absenteeism
  • And in some cases, higher turnover-Company perspective – limits access to a diverse talent pool if potential applicants fear harassment.

There are Increased Costs associated with the above negative impacts.  Although it is difficult to quantify how much money PNG businesses are losing every year due to Sexual Harassment, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research  has compiled some interesting studies on the cost to American businesses – across multiple sectors it’s in the HUNDREDS of MILLIONS - $US!!!

High Risk Employment Situations

Is your workplace associated with any of the following high-risk factors?  If yes, your employees are at greater risk of experiencing Sexual Harassment.

  • Working remotely or in an isolated context: 
  • Working in a male-dominated job: 
  • Working for tips:  Workers who rely on tips as part of their income (e.g., accommodation and food service workers).

Let’s Focus on Solutions

The Business Coalition for Women is a ‘solutions focussed’ organisation.  We have PNG-nuanced resources available to help our member businesses PREVENT and RESPOND to Sexual Harassment.  These resources include:

  • A best practice model Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Training and consultation services to help tailor our Sexual Harassment Policy to the unique characteristics of individual businesses
  • Anti-Sexual Harassment Training (specifically designed for HR/OHS professionals)
  • Sexual Harassment information and awareness sessions and workshops
  • FREE one-hour education sessions for staff on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace and or Family & Sexual Violence and the Workplace (for new members)

PNG Corporate Sector’s Response

The response and leadership demonstrated by PNG businesses like Bank South Pacific, nasfund, Hastings Deering and others are significant. These businesses are implementing the Anti-Sexual Harassment and other best practice workplace policies to ensure safe workplaces for all.

“BSP recognizes the pervasiveness and severity of family and sexual violence and sexual harassment impacting the workplace. As a responsible employer, we are compelled to invest in appropriate resources and initiatives which have been developed specifically for the business community” said BSP Group CEO Robin Fleming.

"Often people do not understand as to what behaviour constitutes sexual harassment. Having a distinct policy in place which defines sexual harassment and clearly articulates unacceptable behaviour and its consequences is the key to preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. It helps to improve the team morale as staff feel protected. In the long run it contributes to the positive corporate culture of the organization" Seema Dass-Raju- Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, nasfund.

Sexual Harassment Policy – Crucial First Steps

Your first line of defence (and a crucial first step in preventing Sexual Harassment in your workplace) is a Sexual Harassment Policy (sometimes referred to as an ANTI Sexual Harassment Policy).A strong Sexual Harassment policy can transform employee relations and office culture from toxic and harmful to rewarding and beneficial. A policy reflects a firm stance against Sexual Harassment.  For those organisations that do not have such a policy, we hope that you will be inspired to take action and implement one.  Please contact the Business Coalition for Women on: for more information.

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Oil and Gas

PNG Business News - July 22, 2021

Oil Search Considering Merging with Santos

Santos, an Australian oil firm, announced its plan to combine with Oil Search Limited. Santos proposed a non-binding indicative merger last month with the goal of making the two companies the regional energy champions. The proposed merged entity has a market capitalization of A$22 billion (K56 billion), putting it among the top 20 ASX-listed companies and the top 20 global oil and gas companies. This means, among other things, that the merger will have a diverse portfolio of high-quality, long-life assets spanning Australia and Papua New Guinea, a solid balance sheet with ample cash to support expansion choices, and an investment-grade credit rating. The merger plan, if approved, would be conducted through a Scheme of Arrangement in which Oil Search shareholders would receive 0.589 new Santos shares for each Oil Search share held, according to Santos in a market disclosure to the Australian Stock Exchange.  Following the scheme's acceptance, Oil Search shareholders would control 37% of the combined company, while Santos shareholders would own 63%. Based on Santos' closing price on June 24, 2021, the ownership ratio suggested a transaction price of A$4.25 (10.92) per Oil Search share. This was a 12.3% premium to the Oil Search closing price of A$3.78 (K9.72) on June 24, 2021, and a 9.8% premium to the Mubadala block trade selling price of A$3865. (K9.92). Kevin Gallagher, managing director and chief executive officer of Santos, said the merger will bring more alignment to PNG, allowing for the development of important projects such as Papua LNG, as well as the creation of new employment and support for the local economy. Santos, according to Gallagher, has proposed a true merger in which ownership of the combined firm is based on proportionate contribution and value. “The strategic rationale for a merger is clear and offers superior value to Oil Search shareholders rather than continuing on a standalone basis. “Santos continues to believe that the Merger Proposal represents an extremely attractive opportunity to deliver compelling value accretion to both Santos and Oil Search shareholders.” Oil Search stated in its ASX market update that it is open to receiving and engaging with any proposal that is in the best interests of its shareholders. While the company's board of directors agrees with Santos that combining the two firms makes strategic sense, the conditions must be fair to the company's shareholders, which the terms proposed by Santos are not. Despite Santos shareholders holding 70% more shares than Oil Search shareholders, Oil Search maintains that the proposed conditions provide just a 6.8% premium based on Friday's closing share prices for Oil Search and Santos. According to the firm, no such proposal has been made at this time.   Reference: Post-Courier (21 July 2021). "Oil Search Open To Merger with Santos". 


PNG Business News - July 21, 2021

Study Says Sweet Potato Growers Have Received Significant Insights into Customers Buying Habits

In Papua New Guinea (PNG), sweet potato (kaukau) growers have received significant insight into customer buying habits, which is assisting them in identifying new market possibilities. The recent market analysis, which was supported by the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership and conducted by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, revealed that an increasing number of consumers in Port Moresby prefer to buy fresh produce from supermarkets, citing convenience and safety as reasons. While this trend may result in fewer consumers at conventional farmer markets, PNG and Australian experts believe it may open up new marketplaces for rural people. “Farmers are looking for stable markets where they can receive more consistent prices for better-quality produce,” said Professor Philip Brown from Central Queensland University (CQU), who is leading the research project.  “The research shows that consumer behaviour is likely to support an expansion in the supermarket sector in large urban centres and this is positive news for the farmers. This could allow commercial focused farmers to secure more stable market access.” The study of 353 customers was conducted as part of ACIAR-funded sweet potato research sponsored by CQU and the PNG National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), which aims to improve sweet potato value chains by increasing the quality of harvested roots. Sweet potato quality and production are improving, resulting in increasing supplies to retailers eager to provide better fresh produce. “The project, with support from the Fresh Produce Development Agency and NARI, is helping farmers to build their business skills and connect with emerging supermarket opportunities,” said Professor Brown. Kirt Hainzer, a CQU researcher who collaborated on the survey alongside NARI researchers, said it was the first study to look at customer behaviour and see what role stores may play in the development of PNG's commercial sweet potato sector. “The research sought to better understand and compare how consumers buy staples from open markets and supermarkets and to explore the preferences for purchasing staple foods as supermarkets increase the availability of convenience staples like rice,” said Hainzer. “Although expanding formal sales represents a huge step forward in developing a commercial sweet potato industry, continued research on consumer preferences and the market for fresh produce will help better understand trends in staple food purchasing and what market opportunities exist for growers.” With over a hundred kinds of sweet potato in the nation, NARI economist Raywin Ovah said the study sought to find out which of these customers preferred. “Not all the varieties are preferred from a consumer point of view. There are only a few that consumers want to be based on the taste or health properties and that is what we want to also find out. Farmers can be provided with that information, so they produce those varieties that the market wants.” One of five initiatives under the Transformative Agriculture and Enterprise Development Program is a project to increase commercial sweet potato production and commercialization in the PNG highlands. The ACIAR program, which is funded by Australia in collaboration with the government of Papua New Guinea, aims to improve the livelihoods of rural men and women through private sector-led development, increased agricultural productivity and quality, and the development of individual and institutional capacity.   Reference: Loop (20 July 2021). “Study looks into sweet potato industry”.


PNG Business News - July 21, 2021

Garry: MRA Evaluating K50 Billion Worth of Investments

According to managing director Jerry Garry, the Mineral Resources Authority is evaluating more than K50 billion in investments in the country. Wafi-Golpu, Frieda River, and Woodlark are among them. “We are also looking at the Central Lime and Cement,” he said. “If that project comes on-stream, it will be one of the first industrial mines ever built in the country.” Garry was speaking at a Port Moresby consultation session on the Mine and Works (Safety and Health) Bill 2021. PNG, he added, was home to some of the world's largest mines. “We have grown from strength to strength,” he said. “If you compare the Bank of PNG statistics, the mining sector alone, in terms of production, has exported over K17 billion in 2020 and 2019. “So it’s a huge industry that we are trying to regulate and manage.” Garry expressed gratitude to the industry for making safety a primary priority. “They have been taking health and safety at the workplaces very seriously,” he said. “We must not only consider (the workers) and the environment but also people living around the (areas) we operate in. “And if we are using any hazards, we must also take responsibility.” The newest mining methods in Wafi-Golpu, known as block cave mining, are one of the new things to expect, according to Garry. “New mining hazards will come with this new mining method,” he said.   Reference: The National (20 July 2021). “Authority assessing investments worth K50bil”.

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