Women living on the Gold Coast who work in resources will have their very own industry networking group from next month, with a new, local chapter of Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ) set to launch.
In true coastal style, the event on December 8 will feature Sunset Gin Tasting by Gold Coast company Paradise Distillers at the iconic Southport Yacht Club.
The launch event is open to women and men working in the state’s $82.6 billion resources sector.
QEM Limited communications director and Gold Coast born-and-bred local Joanne Bergamin is spearheading the charge for more networking and professional development opportunities for local women.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane, a big supporter of WIMARQ, said he was thrilled at the level of interest on the Gold Coast for resources industry networking.
Macfarlane added: “Not every woman working in resources lives in Brisbane or in mining towns, so it’s great to see WIMARQ expand its reach to the Gold Coast.”
WIMARQ has been providing opportunities for women working in resources to meet and learn from each other since 2005, with chapters already active in Brisbane, Moranbah and Mount Isa.
The voluntary organisation now has more than 5,000 members across the state and is a reference group on diversity and inclusion to the QRC.
WIMARQ and the QRC jointly run a highly successful, annual International Women’s Day Breakfast and Resources Awards for Women, as well as mentoring programs for women and female students in Year 12.
Mr Macfarlane said the QRC had just signed off on a new five-year plan to further improve diversity and inclusion in the resources sector, with a goal of 30 percent female participation by 2026.
As for Joanne, she’s excited about bringing local women together.
She said: “I’ve been away from the industry for some years and was living overseas, and on my return felt immediately supported by fellow women in the industry.
“Old friends and new welcomed me back and helped me make vital connections to hit the ground running in my role.
“By starting a WIMARQ chapter on the Gold Coast, I hope to do the same for other women and see this as a small way of giving back to the minerals and energy sector and recognising those who have come before me.
“I understand the Gold Coast is a popular location for FIFO workers around the state, so the local WIMARQ chapter can act as a form of support, not only for the women in the industry but also their partners and families.
“We all know there’s a real shortage of skilled workers in the industry, which has only been exacerbated by COVID, so I wanted to get involved in WIMARQ and contribute to attracting girls and women to the fabulous resources industry.
“I’m even more motivated to get involved after attending the Noosa Mining Conference in July, where there was only one female presenter.
“This experience mirrors other resources conferences across the state and country such as Diggers and Dealers in Kalgoorlie in WA, where only four out of 55 presentations were female – surely we can do better.”
WIMARQ co-chairs Sally Rayner, Rio Tinto’s general manager group internal audit, and Rob Jackson, South 32’s vice president supply said they were delighted to welcome the group’s expansion.
Rayner said: “We are excited to have Joanne leading the Gold Coast chapter – this is an opportunity to support this region and also increase collaboration with the broader WIMARQ community to help learn and grow together.”
Jackson said: “We hope the new chapter helps build a strong community of resources people supporting diversity and inclusion on the Gold Coast.”