Employee, Boyne Smelters

Our commitment to Australia

Five ways we’re committed to playing our part in a stronger Australia

Last updated: 27 January 2021


For more than 100 years, we’ve been working with Australia to create materials the world needs: the iron ore for steel in buildings and bridges, the aluminium for cars and phones.

Without Australia, we wouldn't be where we are today. It’s where almost 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

A$9.4 billion

spent on goods and services from 7,700 businesses 

A$8.9 billion

in taxes and royalties

A$3.7+ billion

on wages

2019 figures

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.

Rail wall
Construction of the largest steel beam rail bridge ever installed in Western Australia at out Gudai-Darri (Koodaideri) mine.

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.

Economic Contribution Report download

Rio Tinto's Economic Contribution in Australia 2019
2.92 MB

About the economic contribution report

This report outlines the various ways in which Rio Tinto’s operations in Australia help to grow the country’s economy to the benefit of all Australians. This happens through direct impacts such as employment and spending on goods and services, as well as through flow-on impacts such as job creation in the wider economy and increases in real wages for working Australians.

Rio Tinto recently commissioned ACIL Allen Consulting to undertake an assessment of Rio Tinto’s contribution to Australia’s economy.

  • Key Assumptions

    In undertaking this assessment, the following assumptions have been made:

    • For the purposes of this report, “Rio Tinto” means the companies comprising the Rio Tinto Group, including Rio Tinto plc, Rio Tinto Limited and their related bodies corporate and any unincorporated joint venture which they manage or have a participating interest of not less than 50%. It also includes Gladstone Power Station, which is 42.125% owned by Rio Tinto and not managed by the Group. ACIL Allen’s study describes the economic impact associated with fully operating these sites. An exception is the impact associated with taxes paid. Taxes and royalties data is prepared based on a 100% basis for all operations in which Rio Tinto has a controlling interest, and for its share where it does no have a controlling interest.
    • All results and input data were based on Rio Tinto’s operational footprint and activities during the 2019 calendar year. 
    • All monetary values are expressed in Australian dollars.
    • The analysis includes expenditure to operate Rio Tinto’s operations in Australia as well as spending on exploration and construction activities in Australia.
    • All production, spending, community investment, employment and taxation and royalty data has been supplied by Rio Tinto, Tomago Aluminium, Queensland Alumina Limited and Gladstone Power Station.
    • All economic impact results are based on Rio Tinto’s operations in Australia, and are related to the spending on goods, services, community investments and wages to operate the assets as well as the spending by employees on goods and services through wages earned. There is also an impact from the revenue earned by each of the Rio Tinto operations.
  • Economic Modelling

    In undertaking this study, ACIL Allen developed Input Output models of the Australian, Queensland, Western Australian, Tasmanian and Gladstone economies to estimate the economic impact of Rio Tinto’s operations on these economies.

    Input Output tables capture the direct and indirect effects of expenditure by capturing, for each industry, the industries it purchases inputs from and the industries it sells its outputs to. For example, the Input Output model for Western Australia captures purchases from and sales to industries located in Western Australia, as well as ‘imports’ from outside of Western Australia including from other States and Territories in Australia. Rio Tinto’s operations effectively form an industry in the Input Output tables, and data describing Rio Tinto’s operations was entered into the model to trace the linkages between it and other industries.

    These linkages have been used to determine the economic impact of Rio Tinto’s operations on the economy. The outputs of the economic modelling were:

    • Contribution to Gross State Product, Gross Domestic Product, and in the case of Gladstone, Gross Regional Product – Gross State, Domestic and Regional Product are measures of the size or value of an economy over a period of time. For this report, they are a measure of the value of Rio Tinto’s operations to the economy in 2019.
    • Contribution to real incomes – real incomes (real wages and salaries incomes) provide a measure of the welfare of residents in an economy or their ability to purchase goods and services and to accumulate wealth. Real income measures the income available for final consumption and saving after adjusting for inflation. For this report, the contribution that Rio Tinto’s operations make to the real incomes of people living in Australia in 2019 has been estimated.
    • Employment creation – employment creation is measured in full time job years which is the employment of one full-time equivalent (FTE) person for one year. Its measure is therefore potentially less than the number of employed people which will include a count of the number of full-time, part-time, casual and contract workers. It includes the FTE workers that are directly employed in Rio Tinto’s operations.
  • Disclaimer

    The professional analysis and advice in this report has been prepared by ACIL Allen Consulting for the exclusive use of the party or parties to whom it is addressed (the addressee) and for the purposes specified in it. This report is supplied in good faith and reflects the knowledge, expertise and experience of the consultants involved. The report must not be published, quoted or disseminated to any other party without ACIL Allen Consulting’s prior written consent. ACIL Allen Consulting accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of reliance on the report, other than the addressee.

    In conducting the analysis in this report ACIL Allen Consulting has endeavoured to use what it considers is the best information available at the date of publication, including information supplied by the addressee. ACIL Allen Consulting has relied upon the information provided by the addressee and has not sought to verify the accuracy of the information supplied. Unless stated otherwise, ACIL Allen Consulting does not warrant the accuracy of any forecast or projection in the report. Although ACIL Allen Consulting exercises reasonable care when making forecasts or projections, factors in the process, such as future market behaviour, are inherently uncertain and cannot be forecast or projected reliably.

    ACIL Allen Consulting shall not be liable in respect of any claim arising out of the failure of a client investment to perform to the advantage of the client or to the advantage of the client to the degree suggested or assumed in any advice or forecast given by ACIL Allen Consulting.

    © ACIL Allen Consulting 2020

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