Rio Tinto celebrates 20-year partnership with The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation

04 July 2017

Rio Tinto is proud to announce its renewed support of The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation (GPFF) of $4.4 million over five years.

Since 1997 hundreds of Aboriginal students have participated in the educational programmes, which support aspirational Indigenous students to graduate from high school, complete further education and gain employment.

Rio Tinto general manager Communities and Communications Linda Dawson said Rio Tinto was proud to be celebrating 20 years of partnership with the GPFF and supporting educational pathways for young Indigenous people.

"Rio Tinto has a long-term commitment to supporting education opportunities for Indigenous children and youth across the Pilbara and the state, to provide opportunity to help achieve their goals and aspirations." 

"Generations of young Indigenous people have gone through the programme, with some graduates’ children now participating" Linda said.

The partnership with the GPFF is one of many that form part of Rio Tinto’s education strategy to provide positive pathways of employment for Indigenous people across the state.

Recently the outcomes achieved through these partnerships have contributed towards the business exceeding its Pilbara Aboriginal people target of 12.2 per cent – reaching 12.4 per cent in May 2017.

The GPFF chief executive officer Cate Sims said Rio Tinto had been a cornerstone partner for their successful Follow the Dream and Partnerships for Success programmes.

"Our education outcomes among Indigenous youth in the Pilbara continue to improve. In 2016 every Indigenous student in the Rio Tinto supported programmes graduated from high school," Cate said.

"Having Rio Tinto in our corner for over two decades has allowed us to become one of Australia's leading providers of education support programmes to young Indigenous people."

Carnarvon Community College student Tony Dutton is a recent graduate of the Follow the Dream/ Partnerships for Success programme.

Tony, who recently completed the programme, believes it has opened doors and set him up for success at school and beyond.

"There are not many job options for kids in Carnarvon and a lot of my mates have struggled to get a good job. Some of the kids I grew up with have left town to pursue a career or complete further studies.

"I’ve wanted to work for Rio Tinto from a young age, and with the Foundation’s support I turned that dream into reality" said Tony.

Tony’s commitment to school and the Follow the Dream/Partnerships for Success programme paid off and earlier this year he commenced a heavy diesel mechanical apprenticeship at Rio Tinto’s Marandoo operations.

About The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation

The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation’s Follow the Dream/Partnerships for Success programme was first established in Karratha in 1997.

The programme provides after school tuition and individual mentoring and case management to secondary students in cooperation with schools and the Western Australian Department of Education. It enables participating students to complete Year 12 and then enter tertiary studies or undertake other post school training or employment.

In partnership with the GPFF, Rio Tinto also supports after school Learning Clubs and Maths and Science Centres of Excellence for primary school students in the Pilbara.

For more information about the GPFF please go to