Our projects and operations in Australia are often located in or near communities with a higher proportion of indigenous people within their populations compared to the Australian average. We recognise the challenges these communities face, and operate a range of programmes that seek to close the socio-economic gap by supporting education, employment and sustainable business opportunities.
Our coal mines in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, worked with Reconciliation Australia, an NGO that promotes better relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan. This details our commitments to address the challenges faced by the surrounding Aboriginal communities; most of these action plans have an emphasis on closing the socio-economic gap.
We launched our first action plan in 2012; as part of this process, we worked with the Aboriginal community to better understand the challenges it faces, and to identify ways in which our operations can help. A second action plan was launched in 2014, which builds on the first to focus on:
- Building and strengthening relationships with the Aboriginal community
- Promoting cultural awareness and understanding
- Skills development and training
- Education; social and community involvement
- Business development
Specific actions include providing school bursaries for Aboriginal children; identifying and including Aboriginal business owners in our local procurement activities; and promoting Aboriginal heritage and culture within our workforce.