BHP creates $50m fund for regional communities

BHP will support regional communities facing significant challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic after pledging to set up a $50 million vital resources fund.

This comes after the mining giant announced it was putting $100 million into small, local and Indigenous communities by accelerating payments, reducing payment terms from 30 days to seven and promising to employ a further 1500 Australians.

The spending will concentrate on BHP’s key operational areas, such as central Queensland’s Bowen Basin, Western Australia’s Pilbara and Goldfields regions, Roxby Downs and the upper Spencer Gulf in South Australia and the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.

BHP chief executive officer Mike Henry said the company stands by the regional communities in which it operates and will continue to support them during the pandemic.

“With those communities facing significant challenges, we are stepping up in establishing the vital resources fund, which will provide support in a range of areas such as health services and resilience building,” Henry said.

“We know COVID-19 (coronavirus) will require a significant collective response from governments, businesses, communities and individuals across Australia. We are determined to play our part as we work through this challenge together.”

Over the coming weeks, BHP will be working with the relevant local authorities, leaders and groups to best distribute the funds according to local needs.

BHP anticipates the areas with the greatest need to be local and regional health networks, community mental health and resilience and social partners and community leaders of rural and remote Indigenous communities.

Over the longer term, BHP also aims to work with local, state and national governments to increase resources and training available to jobseekers.

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