Communities

Tools and resources to keep remote communities safe

The minerals industry is privileged to engage and partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including Traditional Owners, groups and organisations across Australia.

The Resources Sector National COVID-19 Response Protocols specifically cover engagement with remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to existing health inequalities. State and territory governments define remote and very remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

All companies must consult regularly with the communities in which they operate, including Traditional Owner and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Companies must work to keep communities safe while providing essential support for those communities.

The MCA with state chambers and in consultation with Indigenous organisations has developed resources to assist companies to support and keep remote communities safe. These include:

  • A guide which aims to help minerals companies implement protocols relating to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, aiming to inform rather than prescribe a company’s response
  • A health response framework and flowchart to assist mine sites and companies to support community responses across the four pandemic phases identified in the COVID-19 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations Plan
  • A COVID-19 Safe: Minerals industry remote communities engagement transition framework to assist companies to prepare for the easing of public health measures enacted to keep remote communities
  • A Communities Checklist to inform broader regional engagement.

Resources

 

Keeping communities safe

This summary details measures being taken by Australian minerals companies to protect remote Indigenous communities from COVID-19.

 

Supporting host communities and regional Australia

Every day the mineral industry is proud to stand with host communities from Weipa to Moranbah and Ballarat to Port Hedland. During the COVID-19 pandemic, standing together and helping each other where we can is more important than ever before.

Companies are working closely with local pandemic response committees, councils, government agencies, community organisations and others to meet local health and social needs and keep people in highly paid, highly skilled jobs.

Major initiatives are detailed below:

Anglo American

Anglo American has taken a range of actions including:

  • Reducing payment terms for small to medium businesses to 14 days
  • Donating hand sanitiser to local emergency services, education facilities and local businesses
  • Fast tracking community grants programs to financially assist local businesses
  • Partnering with Hearts of Australia to ensure regional communities have access to medical specialists.

BHP

  • BHP has established a $50 million Vital Resources Fund to support host communities surrounding its Australian operations in the areas of health, education and community resilliance, specific actions and donations include:
    • Deliver hand sanitiser for local community groups including the Bloodwood, Treloar Childcare Centre, one Tree Len Taplin and Rose Nowers Early Childcare Centre
    • Working with local businesses to produce hand sanitiser for sites and communities
    • Providing extensive assistance to provide isolation hotels to remote Aboriginal communities
    • Delivering essential hygiene products to local medical services in Roxby Downs and Andamooka, South Australia
    • Donating $2 million to support the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Western Australia
    • Supporting Aboriginal people to return to remote communities as part of efforts to keep communities safe
    • $300,000 to Lifeline WA to deliver essential suicide prevention services
    • $7.6 million funding for two new COVID-19 testing facilities in Central Queensland
    • Funding to 46 community lead projects across Australia.

BHP has also committed to:

  • $3 million donation from the BHP Foundation to the University of Queensland for the development of prevention and treatment for COVID-19
  • Deliver $100 million into small, local and Indigenous businesses by accelerating and reducing payment terms to seven days (from 30 days)
  • Employ a further 1,500 people to support its Australian operations.

EnergyAustralia

  • Relaxing bill structures
  • Implementing protocols and assistance for those in financial hardship.

ERA

  • ERA is working with the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation and Northern Land Council on its arrangements in the Northern Territory.

Glencore

FMG

  • Together with the Minderoo Foundation committed up to $160 million to procure and distribute lifesaving medical supplies and equipment
  • The first supplies have included over 90 tonnes of medical supplies
  • 29 pallets of food and care essentials were also distributed to remote Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara
  • FMG also donated $1 million towards the Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations to boost the organisations frontline services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kirkland Lake Gold

  • Offering use of its mine camp as a health clinic for Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory
  • Fosterville Gold Mine has delivered $20,000 worth of grocery and fuel vouchers to relief agencies in their community.

Macmahon

  • Assisting with food supply to Foodbank Australia
  • Donating laptop computers to various charities in their local communities.

Newcrest Mining Limited

  • Newcrest has established a $20 million Community Support Fund to provide financial assist to host communities with challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Newcrest is assisting with food supply and establishment of accommodation facilities in remote Aboriginal communities with which it partners
  • Providing opportunities for local catering companies at the mine site
  • Donating food and mdical supplies to Orange Health Service.

Newmont

  • Newmont has also established the Newmont Global Community Support Fund – a $20 million fund to assist host communities, governments and employees combat COVID-19
  • Making and distributing home made face masks for the local community.
  • Supporting Charles Darwin University's Food Parcel Program ensuring the overall health and wellbeing of strudents who are struggling
  • Partnering with Secondbite food bank to purchase a forklift to further assist in increased food relief operations
Queensland Resources Council
  • QRC has donated $2000 to create and deliver care packages to seafarers experiencing extended trips due to COVID-19 health restrictions
  • Donating new and repurposed laptops and internet services for QMEA schools in need.

Rio Tinto

  • Rio Tinto has committed $25 million to support global grassroots and community COVID-19 preparedness and recovery
  • Donating PPE, investing in education and financial literacy program
  • Donating kindness packs of toiletries to those in need
  • Committed approximately $420,000 in assistance to Weipa community through the Weipa Town Authority
  • Donated 6,000 liters of hand cleaning products to remote communities in QLD, NT and WA
  • $500,000 to CareFlight Northern Operations to support emergency aeromedical care in the Northern Territory as part of a A$1.1 million commitment to support East Arnhem communities
  • Supporting the Cape Youth Connect Program to ensure school aged care of children for essential workers
  • Provided significant in-kind support and local contractor engagement in Nhulunbuy so a facility can be used as a distribution centre for essential supplies to Indigenous communities and homelands
  • Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to return to remote communities as part of efforts to keep communities safe.

South32

  • South32 has committed $1 million to support local communities around their Australian operations
  • The funds will be distributed between the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Foodbank Australia and Lifeline Australia

Verdant Minerals

  • Offering its 14-bed exploration camp to be used as an health clinic for Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory



HealthInfoNet

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has compiled various health resources relating to Indigenous communities.

 

Health promotion

To support the communication of key health messages relating to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Australian Department of Health has produced a number of videos that are part of their national COVID-19 campaign. Although translated versions are available for a number of foreign languages, there are none available in indigenous language. Glencore’s Aurukun Bauxite Project team, in consultation with the local Queensland Health re presentative and Apunipima Cape York Health Council, arranged for a local language version of two videos to be developed and distributed in the Aurukun community and surrounding area.

PDF iconGuide - Creating Indigenous Language COVID Video.pdf