Our commitment to Australia
Five ways we’re committed to playing our part in a stronger Australia
Without Australia, we wouldn't be where we are today. It’s where more than half our assets are based and for thousands of our employees, Australia is home.
We’re committed to helping build a stronger, more prosperous Australia – and we’re proud to play our part in helping the nation grow. But we also know there’s more we need to do to be better custodians, neighbours and partners.
Our contribution to Australia
spent on goods and services from 7,700 businesses
in taxes and royalties
1. To create jobs – and opportunities – for everyone in Australia
Wherever we are in Australia, we strive to employ local people, buy local products and engage local services. In 2019, we worked with 7,700 businesses across Australia. At our Gudai-Darri (Koodaideri) iron ore project, we awarded around A$60 million of work to Aboriginal businesses in the Pilbara in 2019 and we’re proud that Western Australia’s first Indigenous owned and operated quarry will supply 600,000 tonnes of ballast to build our rail line.
But we are always looking for ways we can do more. We have local procurement targets at each of our sites and offer career pathway programmes too, like our Paid School Leavers programme in Weipa which provides trainee and apprenticeship opportunities for local Aboriginal people. In Central Queensland, we contributed A$126,000 through the Here for Gladstone programme in 2019 including initiatives aimed at providing job opportunities and helping local businesses grow. And in Western Australia, we introduced the Rio Tinto Buy Local programme to make it easier for local businesses to bid for work with us and to help build the capabilities of local industry through training and networking opportunities.
2. To help Australians get the skills they need for the future
Work is changing, and so are the kinds of skills young people need. To help them prepare for the future, we partnered with leading start-up accelerator BlueChilli and Amazon Web Services to create the Future Minds Accelerator. In 2020, Future Minds has engaged more than 100,000 students around the country – from Weipa to Perth – on skills like critical thinking, automation and coding. Future Minds has helped the participating start-ups grow too, creating dozens of new jobs.
And in 2020, 28 high school students became the first graduates of the Certificate II in Autonomous Workplace Operations – the first nationally recognised automation qualification in Australia, which we launched in partnership with South Metropolitan TAFE in Perth and the Western Australian government.
3. To support stronger, safer communities
In 2019 we invested more than A$29.5 million in everything from local community services to bigger partnerships like the Royal Flying Doctors Service, supporting critical health services for communities near our operations – and beyond.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we put strict controls in place to help keep our employees and local communities safe. We were proud to introduce the industry’s first rapid screening tests in Western Australia, and in doing so helped create job opportunities for local healthcare workers too. We are also supporting a range of Australia-based organisations as part of our global COVID-19 preparedness and recovery fund. These include donating A$4 million to Western Australian charity Telethon, which helps local kids; contributing A$1 million each to the Shire of Ashburton and the City of Karratha to help stimulate the local economy; and pledging A$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 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
4. To care for this country – from the ground up
From Karratha to Cape York to Bell Bay, we work with scientists, Traditional Owners and environmental organisations to help protect native animals like the red goshawk, the palm cockatoo and the northern quoll. Our flatback turtle monitoring programme – which has been running since 2002 – is helping scientists better understand this vulnerable species.
And at Weipa, we set up the Land and Sea Management programme, which employs Traditional Owners to help monitor and manage cultural heritage, plants and land and marine wildlife to ensure minimal disruption.
5. To listen, learn and change
2020 has been a year of sober reflection for us. The destruction of the rock shelters at Juukan Gorge was wrong and should not have happened. We will listen, learn and change – and we will work hard to rebuild trust with Traditional Owners, Indigenous Australians and all Australians.
We have started making changes: we have enhanced our governance processes around sites of heritage significance, started modernising the agreements we have with Traditional Owners and pledged US$50 million to advance Indigenous leadership in our business.
We have a long road and a lot of work ahead of us, but we are committed to doing everything we can to get there.
These are some of the ways we’re committed to doing our part to build a stronger Australia. We know it’s not just the tax we pay or the jobs we create – it’s how we work together with government, communities and partners to do the right thing.
And to that, you have our commitment.