Families first as Amrun approaches

24 October 2017

Rio Tinto Weipa Operations is taking steps to address local childcare challenges ahead of upcoming shift roster changes and development of the Amrun bauxite project.

The site has joined forces with the Weipa Town Authority (WTA) and Weipa Community Care (WCC) to renew its investment in the Family Day Care Scheme.

The scheme has been renewed for two years and will receive a funding boost of $50,000.

The partnership was formed in 2015 in response to pressure on local childcare services and to encourage educators to open their own family day care businesses in Weipa.

With a investment of $30,000 the initial two-year partnership attracted 13 new educators providing care for 54 additional children.

Pictured: (L-R) Weipa Town Authority representative Emma Bebb, Rio Tinto Weipa finance business partner Adam Clements and Care Scheme Coordinator Lauren Gregory.

WCC chief executive officer Gemma Spencer said "Weipa Family Day Care Scheme is a service that focuses on the unique needs of our community.

"This initiative supports the sustainability of local early childhood professionals to continue their childcare journey and will help stabilise the longevity of care requirements for Weipa."

New educators are offered starter packages worth up to $5,000 on the condition they provide childcare services to the Weipa community for a minimum of two years.

Rio Tinto Weipa Operations finance business partner Adam Clements said "We’re proud of this initiative which will continue to support strong local demand for childcare services particularly as Amrun move towards becoming operational.

"Our key priority is to support employees, families and the broader community through this transition period. Securing more educators will provide a variety of care options to support those working for Rio Tinto and other local organisations."

Starter packs for new educators are on offer until July 2019 and include:

• Business registration fee waived by WTA (worth $1,369)
• Up to $800 worth of benefits from the WCC
• Up to $2,500 reimbursement from Rio Tinto to help offset initial start-up and ongoing costs for educators including home fit-outs suitable for children
• Up to $2,000 educational scholarships from Rio Tinto to reimburse educators for study costs upon successful completion of qualifications
• Support from My Pathways to ensure educators’ homes meets regulatory requirements

WTA’s chairman Michael Rowland said "There is no doubt our town and community is going through a period of change. Supporting parents to work is essential to ensuring our community remains strong and liveable."

About Amrun project

Rio Tinto announced its $2.6 billion investment in the Amrun project in late 2015. The project is about 40 kilometres south of Rio Tinto’s existing East Weipa and Andoom mines on the Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland and involves the construction of a bauxite mine, processing and port facilities.

Rio Tinto has a long history of partnering with Traditional Owners on Cape York and the Amrun project will continue creating opportunities for Indigenous people from Cape York and the surrounding region.

1,200 workers are currently employed onsite completing construction of the project