North Queensland Toyota Cowboys show support for mental health awareness

26 September 2017

North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have shown their support for mental health awareness, with former star fullback Matt Bowen visiting Rio Tinto’s world-class Amrun bauxite project on Cape York Peninsula.

Matt joined employees onsite to participate in a range of activities organised for national RU OK? Day celebrations in mid-September.

The RU OK? Foundation is a suicide prevention charity aimed at inspiring Australians to have regular, meaningful conversations every day of the year to help anyone struggling with life.

Matt kicked-off the visit with a mentoring session with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees where he gave a speech about the importance of connecting with each other. Afterwards he held a meet and greet with contractors building the new mine infrastructure.

Pictured: Matt Bowen with Amrun senior Wik-Waya Traditional Owner Tony Kerindun

Matt said he was pleased to have an opportunity to give back to the community in a meaningful way through his role as Community Engagement Officer at the Cowboys.

"The club is involved in a number of community programmes that aim to engage North Queenslanders right throughout the Cowboys catchment area," Bowen said.

"It’s amazing to see the influence our sport of rugby league has in being able to deliver important social messages – like mental health awareness – in some of the most remote places in our great region."

Later in the day an ‘Amazing Race’ activity took place with 18 teams participating in eight activities around the village including apple-bobbing, a six-legged race and wrecking-ball relay.

Pictured: (L-R) Matt Bowen, Jeff Watson, Linda Wells and Jacqui Dover

Pictured: (L-R) Emma Nelson, Jade Fairweather, Dan Webster and Matt Pieters

The event finished with live music and a barbeque under the stars.

Rio Tinto Amrun Project director Marcia Hanrahan said she was delighted with the Cowboys and in particular Matt’s support of the event.

"It is wonderful to have a role model like Matt support our message that employee safety extends beyond physical safety to include mental health and well-being.

"Events like these are so important to encourage employees to open up conversations on positive mental health and building resilience," she said.

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.