Rio Tinto’s focus on zero harm and a strong safety culture has motivated its leadership to provide support to employees affected by domestic and family violence. Its involvement with organisations such as White Ribbon and Male Champions of Change has played a critical role in shaping its workplace response to these issues.
In 2017 Rio Tinto became the first global mining company in Australia to achieve a White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation. The accreditation recognises it is taking active steps to break the cycle of violence against women and is committed to creating safe, caring and respectful workplaces.
This progress follows an announcement of an updated group Family and Domestic Violence Policy outlining improvements to its processes and resources supporting affected employees and families.
Rio Tinto recognised the importance of including a domestic and family violence response in its business priorities and established a steering committee of senior leaders to drive this work. Many leaders have now been trained by independent experts to recognise, respond to and refer colleagues experiencing distressing circumstances.
The impact of implementing the new policies has been far reaching, extending beyond the workplace and out into the community through employee advocacy. Local partnerships at local, state and federal levels have been imperative in achieving this success.
The initiatives will continue to be supported by an ongoing workforce awareness campaign and global rollout with the Northern America businesses next in line.
Access to childcare for pre-school and primary school children has long been a priority for the growing community of Heathcote, Victoria. Understanding its importance to the local community, Mandalay Resources engaged the Community Child Care Association to develop a prefeasibility study for a new childcare service in the town during 2015.
With strong support from the community, Mandalay Resources funded the appointment of a project manager in 2017 to progress the study. After investigating a range of options, a hybrid children’s community hub, including a managed long day care model, was proposed.
In December 2017 the Victorian Government announced it would fund development of the hub with the local St John’s Parish donating the land and additional funds. This resulted from an initial investment by Mandalay Resources of approximately $100,000 in various feasibility studies and appointment of a project manager.
Construction of the hub, which will transform early childhood education and employment options for Heathcote residents, was completed in early 2019.
Located near the villages of Broke and Bulga in New South Wales, Glencore’s Bulga Coal employs approximately 800 people across its operations. The mine has been operating since 1982.
Bulga Coal has a comprehensive Community Investment Program, focused on supporting social, economic and environmental priorities identified by its host communities. These areas are health, environment and capacity building including enterprise development and economic diversity. The program also supports community needs identified in local and regional community development plans.
This has led to community partnerships with Hunter Local Land Services, Mudgee 4 Doctors program and John Hunter Hospital Neonatal Unit. Other programs supported by the mine – aligned with community priorities – are the Broke Fordwich Wine and Tourism Association, Bulga Progress Association, Broke Bulga Landcare and Singleton Junior Cattle Judging.
Centennial Coal uses local suppliers for 56 per cent of its goods and services, contributing $459 million to the lower Hunter and Lithgow local economies each year. Local businesses engaged include construction, accounting, surveyors, environmental specialists, caterers, recruitment services and logistics suppliers.
Centennial Coal also employs 24 mechanical and electrical apprentices, three trainees, three engineering graduates and seven vacation students, building the local skills base and developing the next generation of mining professionals.
Centennial Coal community investment program has adopted a strategic capacity building approach to encourage alternate employment opportunities in the Kandos/Rylstone area. This includes in tourism, where Centennial Coal has supported Kandos Museum with trips to the Charbon Box Cut – a popular place for visitors.
The Local Buying Program was established in 2012 to support small businesses to engage with BHP, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) and BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal (BMC).
The Program is delivered in a strategic partnership between BHP and C-Res – a cost-neutral organisation – and has been operating successfully in Queensland since 2012, in New South Wales since 2016, and in South Australia and Western Australia from 2017.
The Program enables small local businesses to supply goods and services to BHP, BMA and BMC operations via a competitive tender process with reduced payment terms. Businesses also receive direct support from C-Res Business Engagement Advisors and the Program Administration Team.
Businesses who employ fewer than 20 full-time equivalent employees and have a significant physical presence near one of BHP’s Minerals Australia core assets are encouraged to register for the Program.
Since its establishment, there has been more than $227 million in approved spending under the program with 1,158 approved suppliers and average payment terms of 13 days. The Program will turn over almost $80 million during the current financial year.
In 2017 Rio Tinto celebrated five years of award winning Community Infrastructure and Services Partnerships (CISP) with the Shire of Ashburton and City of Karratha. These partnerships have pioneered local collaborations to ensure regional communities remain vibrant and active places to live into the future.
It was a particularly big year for the Shire of Ashburton, with construction commencing on the Paraburdoo Community Hub, to which Rio Tinto committed $6 million towards construction and $2.5 million for the first five years for operational support. The multipurpose facility includes new oval and pool amenities, a purpose-built 24 hour gymnasium, and refurbishment of the existing sports hall. It will also be the future home for Karingal Neighbourhood Centre.
Rio Tinto’s partnership with the Shire of Ashburton also contributed to events and festivals in Pannawonica, Paraburdoo and Tom Price, and supports the long term sustainability of clubs and groups through the Community Development Agreement.
A major highlight of Rio Tinto’s partnership with the City of Karratha was the commencement of the $16 million Wickham Community Hub, to which Rio Tinto contributed $8 million. It will provide a central space for the community to come together and features a community library, early learning and youth centres, and water playground. It also provides office space, which can be leased by community groups and includes upgrades to the community hall and two multipurpose function rooms for community groups, events, functions and fitness classes.
Rio Tinto’s partnership with City of Karratha has delivered many great outcomes, including contributing to the construction of the Dampier Community Hub; town beautification projects including the Point Samson foreshore upgrade and public amenities in Dampier. Various events and festivals including Cossack Art Awards, Red Earth Arts Festival, Australia Day, NAIDOC, community development programs and youth services also continue with the company’s proud support.
Rio Tinto also regularly undertakes surveys in host communities to understand issues of concern and importance and identify improvement pathways. This innovative approach to working with local government provides lasting community benefits.