The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has partnered with MATES in Construction to ensure there is a dedicated focus on suicide prevention and early intervention in the Inland Rail project’s workforce.
The $100,000 partnership forms part of ARTC’s commitment to the safety and wellbeing of employees and contractors working on Inland Rail.
ARTC Interim Chief Executive, Inland Rail, Rebecca Pickering said ARTC has a shared vision with MATES in Construction.
“MATES in Construction delivers a vital service within our industry, and we’re proud to partner with them because ARTC understands the importance of their work to ensure our workers are looking after themselves both physically and mentally,” Pickering said.
“Through the partnership, we hope all workers on our sites take up the opportunity to reach out to someone about how they’re getting on and seek help if they’re feeling vulnerable.
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“MATES in Construction will also be working in collaboration with our contracting partners to engage directly with workers on site, which will help ensure they have access to vital support if they need it.”
The partnership will directly support the delivery of MATES in Construction programs to all Inland Rail construction sites in Queensland and New South Wales.
Pickering said Inland Rail workers will have access to a range of support, including field officers and qualified case managers on site – who will work with individuals to develop a plan to address their issues – including self-harm intervention skills training and a 24-hour helpline.
“Safety is our number one priority, and this extends to mental health – this partnership will ensure we are reaching out directly to help address the prevalence of suicide in the construction industry, and ensure our workers have easy access to assistance,” she said.
MATES in Construction CEO Chris Lockwood said he welcomed the partnership with ARTC and Inland Rail.
“Our research shows that in any year, one in 20 people struggle with thoughts of suicide – they may not act on it, but they have the thought,” Lockwood said.
“With over 21,500 people working across this project at the peak of construction, over 1000 workers could be struggling and need assistance.
“Training Inland Rail workers to recognise the signs and check in with a workmate who might be doing it tough, could mean one less family and worksite will be impacted by loss and trauma. We know suicide is preventable, often with very simple tools.”