Colours of our Country
The Pilbara has a rich history and a vibrant artistic heart: the land and its Traditional Owners are home to generations of stories, ceremony and culture. Since 2006, the Colours of our Country exhibition has provided people in Perth with a small snapshot of these stories and customs – 1,500 kilometres away from the magnificent landscapes that influence so many of the works on show.
Colours of our Country is more than an exhibition. It creates economic development opportunities for the featured artists, supports the ongoing sustainability of art groups and artists and provides an outlet for cultural expression.
Over 14 years, the exhibition has sold 2,500 artworks generating more than A$2.59 million for local artists, their art groups and their communities. Every year, our business gifts artwork to the Art Gallery of Western Australia for the State Art Collection, which now contains 22 artworks by 11 Pilbara Indigenous artists.
Community Investment Funding
Applying for Community Investment Funding in Western Australia
We are proud of our history of pioneering progress around the world, including more than 50 years of operating and contributing in Western Australia. We encourage proposals and prioritise support for initiatives that align with our priority areas: education, environment, health and community liveability.
Projects we support should meet the following criteria:
- Have a clear project plan, objectives, timelines, budget and goals
- Align with Rio Tinto business values, adhering to The way we work and our Business Integrity Standard
- Benefit communities which neighbour our operations or where our employees live and work
- Be from community groups, charitable or not-for-profit organisations or local government organisations in the Pilbara and regional source towns
- Align with our strategic priorities and meet an identified need
- Actively engage and leverage Rio Tinto funding and be transparent in reporting
- Promote skills development and build community capacity
- Be sustainable beyond our financial support
Projects we generally do not support are those that fit the following parameters:
- Do not align with Rio Tinto business policies, values and The way we work
- Primarily focus on capital works
- Are from private companies that operate for profit and/or are seeking finance for commercial activities
- Individual appeals by or on behalf of individuals for personal benefit, including the support of travel, study or fundraising
- Are for mainstream government services traditionally funded by the government
- Are for activities and events that have already occurred
- Are for activities linked to political, partisan, religious or sectarian associations
- Are for activities that are or may be construed as racially prejudiced or discriminatory
- Our community investment and engagement teams assess funding requests, which are prioritised according to the location of impact and alignment with priority areas
Employees in the Community
Our employees are passionate about giving back to their communities and we support that passion through our two “Employees in the Community” initiatives – Dollars for Doers and Team Rio Tinto.
Dollars for Doers rewards employees who volunteer 50 hours or more of personal time per year for a Western Australia-based community organisation with a $500 grant for their nominated organisation.
Team Rio Tinto encourages groups of employees to take part in community and fundraising activities across Western Australia by funding or matching funding for event registration costs (employees and organisations must meet eligibility criteria). Interested employees can find application packs for both programmes on our corporate intranet.
Fly-In, Fly-Out Employment
Our fly in-fly out (FIFO) programme continues to deliver significant economic benefits for regional towns in Western Australia through stable employment and more spending with local businesses.
According to a report by ACIL Allen Consulting, our regional FIFO programme delivered an estimated economic contribution of A$199.4 million to regional towns outside of the Pilbara and Perth last year, an increase of A$14.7 million since 2016.
A growing regional FIFO workforce of more than 2,230 increased spending – purchases from vendors, credit card payments, airport charges, community investments and wages – in regional Western Australia to A$547.9 million in 2018.
We aim to prioritise Indigenous people and in particular, Traditional Owners, in recruitment or internal redeployment opportunities, and the number of Traditional Owners in our business continues to grow. We also focus on career paths, supporting tertiary students and developing opportunities for Indigenous businesses both at Rio Tinto and more broadly.
We have 10 agreements with nine Traditional Owner groups in whose country we operate, and we continue to meet our mining benefits payment obligations.
Indigenous Scholarship & Cadetship Programmes
Our Indigenous Scholarship programme is aimed at supporting Indigenous people who are studying at a tertiary level. The programme is a direct result of the shared commitment between Rio Tinto and Indigenous groups across the Pilbara.
The programme aims to:
- Benefit Indigenous people, in particular those belonging to Traditional Owner groups in area of operations within the Pilbara
- Support Indigenous people in successfully completing tertiary studies
- Provide a pipeline opportunity of tertiary-qualified Indigenous people for employment at Rio Tinto
- Contribute towards the sustainable development of the Pilbara region
Indigenous people recognised outside of the Pilbara area are also eligible to apply.
To be eligible for a Rio Tinto Indigenous Scholarship you must:
- Be an Australian resident
- Be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander decent
- Be able to provide evidence of your Indigenous identity by means of recognition with a ‘common seal’ from the relevant Indigenous group
- Meet Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requirements ensuring the funds provided are tax exempt by:
- The individual must be a full-time student
- The individual must be enrolled at a university in Western Australia
- The individual must not be required to be an employee as a condition of their scholarship
- The individual must not be contracted wholly or principally for their labour
- The individual must not be required to provide personal services now or in the future
- The scholarship must be principally for educational purposes
- If a scholar does not meet the ATO requirements they are responsible for ensuring appropriate individual taxation advice is sought on their behalf
- Demonstrate strong academic achievement and potential
Contact RioTinto.CommunitiesScholarships@riotinto.com to find out more.
We have long been advocates for Indigenous rights in Australia, and today are proud supporters of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and have agreements in place across all our operations to ensure Traditional Owners have a say in how the benefits of mining are used in their community.
In the Pilbara, our cultural heritage programme meets our high standards for identification, assessment and management of Indigenous heritage sites. As part of the programme, our heritage team works closely with Traditional Owners to effectively manage activities around cultural values. We believe the participation of Indigenous Australians in managing their own cultural heritage is important and essential to ensuring our activities are conducted in a culturally appropriate manner.
Preserving Cultural Heritage in the Pilbara
Our heritage team is one of the largest and most experienced of its kind in the resources industry. Our experts include qualified archaeologists, anthropologists, specialists in cultural heritage management, geographical information systems, information management and community liaison officers, all of whom collectively facilitate the management of Indigenous cultural heritage across our iron ore tenements, solar salt operations and mining leases in Western Australia.
Our comprehensive Cultural Heritage Management System ensures appropriate protection and management of Indigenous heritage through engagement with Traditional Owners and their Native Title representative bodies. Our approvals coordination system regulates ground disturbance activities to ensure that significant Indigenous and environmental sites are not disturbed without authorisation.
As part of our heritage programme, we partner with relevant Indigenous representative organisations, professional bodies and academic institutions to conduct research and analysis of significant sites. This includes archaeological excavations in rock shelters, some of which have revealed evidence of 45,000 years of occupation by Indigenous people, and in recording the incredible rock art displaying human social and economic values over many tens of thousands of years.
We are also proud to partner with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and the University of Western Australia in ongoing investigations and management, including a major research programme, Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming, and in an annual field school on the Burrup Peninsula near Dampier. This gives students and Indigenous rangers an opportunity to work together in the identification, recording and management of the significant rock art in this area. Learn more about the programme.
The cultural heritage surveys identified above were associated with our exploration and evaluation drilling programmes, extensions to existing mines and future mine development studies. The two recorded incidents related to the use of existing infrastructure within the heritage site boundaries. These were investigated and reported to the relevant Traditional Owner groups.