Miners put cash into communities

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Shire of Ashburton president Kerry White opens the Passion of the Pilbara festival in Onslow.
Camera IconShire of Ashburton president Kerry White opens the Passion of the Pilbara festival in Onslow. Credit: Shannon Beattie

Mining and gas giants in the Pilbara are donating millions of dollars to boost local government relief packages. Local businesses and sporting groups in the shire of Ashburton and Karratha have received a boost, with mining giant Rio Tinto donating $1 million to each of the Shires’ relief packages.

The Shire of Ashburton said applications made to the COVID-19 Small Business and Community Grants Fund would be assessed by the chief executive in consultation with the council.

Shire of Ashburton president Kerry White said Rio’s contribution would let the Shire consider clubs’ and groups’ sustainability.

“The additional funding will also align with the $500,000 relief fund set aside by the Shire to provide an alternative assistance option for small businesses, retail outlets, tourism providers and essential community services that may not fall under or be eligible for Federal and State government financial support,” Cr White said.

Paraburdoo operations general manager Kent Franey said Rio Tinto was pleased to support the Shire of Ashburton relief package and assist the response and recovery of organisations and businesses.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the contribution increased the total value of the support packages to $4 million.

Woodside recently launched a Statewide $10 million COVID-19 community fund, with about $3 million going to Karratha.

According to a statement released by Woodside the Fund would also be supplemented by a dollar-matching employee donation initiative.

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said the Woodside acknowledged the broader social and economic impacts from the current COVID-19 situation.

“We are working closely with our contractors and suppliers on measures to mitigate impacts on their businesses and their employees,” he said.

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