Resources sector donates $6.6m for COVID-19 support

02/04/2020 - 11:21

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In an initiative led by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA, the Western Australian resources sector has pledged $6.6 million to Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations, Foodbank WA and Lifeline WA.

Resources sector donates $6.6m for COVID-19 support
Paul Everingham says the resources sector will stand with the WA community to overcome this challenge.

In an initiative led by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA, the Western Australian resources sector has pledged $6.6 million to the Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations, Foodbank and Lifeline WA.

The COVID-19 Community Support Initiative will help these three not-for-profit organisations carry out their work assisting COVID-19 patients in remote and regional WA, supporting mental health and providing essential supplies to vulnerable community members.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA chief executive Paul Everingham said 19 companies had contributed to the initiative.

“So far, Albemarle Corporation, AngloGold Ashanti Australia, BHP, Chevron Australia, CITIC Pacific Mining, Fortescue Metals Group, Gold Fields, Gold Road Resources, Mount Gibson Iron, Newcrest Mining, Ramelius Resources, Regis Resources, Rio Tinto, Roy Hill Holdings, Saracen Mineral Holdings, South32, Talison Lithium, TransAlta Corporation and Woodside Petroleum have contributed to the initiative, with further companies finalising their investment over the coming days and weeks,” Mr Everingham said.  

“We are all in this together and we will stand with the WA community to overcome this challenge.”

Mr Everingham said the WA resources sector’s highest priority during the pandemic was the health and safety of its people, their families, and communities.  

“The sector is extremely grateful for being allowed to continue to operate in this environment and does not take the responsibility lightly,” he said.

“The resources sector has come together in solidarity at a time when the WA community is being asked to do the same thing.

“Our member companies are keen to collectively do something to further support our resources sector workforce, as well as the broader WA community, who are becoming increasingly challenged by current events.”

RFDS Western Operations chief executive Rebecca Tomkinson said the contribution would help the service boost their operations.

“We have been a trusted health care partner in Western Australia for more than 90 years,” she said.

“We are there to help a mate when they need us the most; and that time is now, in the coming weeks and the many months ahead.

“We are incredibly grateful for the critical support from CME member companies which will assist us towards bolstering our service for the surge capacity we will need to respond to across regional WA.”

Foodbank WA chief executive Greg Hebble said the funding had come at a crucial time for the food relief charity as supplies were at an all-time low and demand was expected to surge as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of CME as it will help us continue to provide a reliable supply of food and groceries to our charity partners and welfare agencies, to help the most vulnerable members of the community put food on the table,” he said.

Lifeline WA chief executive Lorna MacGregor said the significant contribution from CME’s members would save lives.

Lifeline WA is eternally grateful for the overwhelming response from the WA government, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy and its members for prioritizing the mental health needs of our community at this crucial time," she said.

“It is absolutely essential that we ensure our services have the capability to respond effectively to people who need our help.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan welcomed the community support initiative and thanked CME member companies for their efforts in responding to COVID-19.

“All sections of the community have a responsibility to play their part in responding to COVID-19, and I acknowledge WA’s resources sector for its efforts to date,” Mr McGowan said.

“This is a fantastic initiative that will provide vital support to people in regional WA, in particular those living in remote communities, who are particularly vulnerable during this time.”

The announcement comes after several other big organisations have committed money to support the community through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation yesterday pledged $160 million to increase medical supplies and WA’s capacity to test for COVID-19.

Earlier this week, Woodside announced a $10 million COVID-19 Community Fund to provide support to the communities where they work and Rio Tinto donated $25 million to support global community preparedness and recovery.

Last week, BHP established a $50 million Vital Resources Fund to help support regional communities in its areas of operation and previously reduced payment terms to seven days and announced it would employ a further 1,500 people across Australia.

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