Employees step up to support local communities
Our operations are part of local communities, which include Aboriginal communities, employees and contractors, near neighbours who live close to our sites, as well as local businesses who provide goods and services to our operations.
We set out to build relationships with all of our communities that are characterised by mutual respect, active partnership and long term commitment. In practice this means:
Having robust relationships with our communities of interest - this requires understanding the issues and needs of different stakeholders
Effectively contributing to communities by understanding the socio-economic environment and communities' vision for the future, and providing contributions that are sustainable and build long term community capability.
The Rio Tinto Communities Policy and standard guide our work with local communities.
We regularly engage with a wide range of Government and opposition members, and officials at a local, state and federal level. This engagement ensures our vision and plans are understood by government and vice versa.
Many of our employees are members of the communities in which we operate. In 2011 our employees continued to play an active role in their local communities demonstrated through a range of initiatives, including flood clean-up efforts and fundraising activities.
In addition, in June 2011 we launched an employee engagement programme, SD&me, available to 8,000 Rio Tinto Coal Australia and Rio Tinto Brisbane employees and contractors.
Comprised of a number of elements, SD&me Community recognises our people who enthusiastically support community organisations each year. The community stream has had a successful first six months; more than 1800 employees participating in events and fundraising activities, collectively raising almost $200,000 and committing more than 5000 hours to a diverse range of charities and community groups1. More information is available at http://www.sdandme.com.au/.
Each year we seek to better understand our communities' needs and aspirations so that we can target our programmes and investment in the right areas. For example, in 2011 we completed a Hunter Valley Aboriginal situational analysis in partnership with Hunter Valley Research Foundation and the Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle. This work has given us and others a greater understanding of the characteristics of the Hunter Valley Aboriginal community so we can continue to work with the community to manage any issues as well as the opportunities provided by our operations.
2011 saw continued implementation of the Clermont Preferred Future plan, a long-term vision for the community, developed in 2008 by Isaac Regional Council with involvement and support from Rio Tinto Coal Australia. In 2011 we supported implementation of the plan in a number of ways, including:
- Development of a 'build, buy or rent' programme to increase accommodation in Clermont
- Contributing $10 million to Isaac Regional Council towards the upgrade of the Clermont Airport
- Providing $500,000 in funding to nine community led projects funded by the Clermont Community Development Fund.
Read more about ongoing implementation of the Clermont Preferred Future Plan.
In 2011 we recommitted our four community development funds for another three years, with a total budget of $8.5 million. We also oversee four additional Aboriginal community funds and trusts, designed to support projects for descendants of the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we operate, as well as local Aboriginal communities surrounding our operations. Since their inception, our eight community development funds have contributed more than $22 million to the communities in which we operate.
During 2011 we carried out a Site Managed Assessment against the Rio Tinto Communities standard at Kestrel Mine. Site Managed Assessments are carried out at each of our operations every three years. Members of the community are invited to participate in a review of our performance as part of the assessment process.
This assessment was the second conducted by Kestrel Mine, with the first undertaken in December 2008. Since that time, the Communities function at Kestrel Mine has continued to develop and mature in the areas of Baseline Communities Assessment, Multi-Year planning, and Foundations, Trusts and Funds. Furthermore, in recent times, significant efforts by the operation in engaging with near neighbours has resulted in a much improved relationship with this key stakeholder group. Outcomes of the Kestrel Mine assessment focused on continuing to reach goals established by operational and management staff. Kestrel Mine will continue to face a number of challenges, including integration of Kestrel Mine Extension and further strengthening of near neighbour relations.
1 Includes Brisbane-based Rio Tinto employees