BHP offers coronavirus support for Australian communities

BHP will hire 1,500 people and establish a A$50 million (US$28 million) Vital Resources Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
BHP offers coronavirus support for Australian communities BHP offers coronavirus support for Australian communities BHP offers coronavirus support for Australian communities BHP offers coronavirus support for Australian communities BHP offers coronavirus support for Australian communities

Last week BHP said it would reduce payment terms for small, local and indigenous businesses in Australia

Staff reporter

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The fund will support regional communities, focused on the regions surrounding BHP's Australian operations, including the Bowen Basin in Central Queensland, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Roxby Downs and the Upper Spencer Gulf in South Australia, and the Pilbara and Goldfields regions in Western Australia.

"BHP stands with the regional communities we operate in," CEO Mike Henry said.

"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 during this difficult time.

"We know COVID-19 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 and months, BHP will work with relevant leaders and groups to distribute funding according to local needs and in a manner aligned with government programs and initiatives.

Anticipated areas of support include local and regional health networks for critical infrastructure, services and workforces, essential community services, mental health, social partners and community leaders to support rural and remote indigenous communities, and increasing resources and training available to jobseekers.

BHP also announced it would hire 1,500 additional people in Australia, with the jobs to be offered as six-month contracts to bolster and support the existing workforce.

The roles will include machinery and production operators, truck and ancillary equipment drivers, excavator operators, diesel mechanics boilermakers, trades assistants, electricians, cleaners and warehousing roles across our coal, iron ore and copper operations in WA, Queensland, NSW and SA.

Following the initial six-month contract, BHP will look to offer permanent roles for some of these jobs.

"As part of BHP's social distancing measures we are introducing more small teams with critical skills to work dynamically across different shifts," BHP acting president Minerals Australia Edgar Basto said.

Last week BHP said it would reduce payment terms for small, local and indigenous businesses as part of a programme to support communities and regional economies.