BHP Vital Resources Fund reaches half-way mark

BHP’s A$50 million Vital Resources Fund has committed approximately A$25 million to organisations and programs across Australia in the areas of health, education and community resilience over the past six weeks since it was established in late March.

BHP Acting President Operations Minerals Australia, Edgar Basto, said: “We established the BHP Vital Resources Fund to support our regional communities during COVID-19. In just six weeks we have committed half the funding to 46 projects across Australia.”

“This funding is being delivered to the people and communities who need it the most, through the organisations and initiatives who are working hard to provide vital support through this difficult time,” Mr Basto said.

“We are determined to play our part and the BHP Vital Resources Fund provides critical financial support to help regional communities across the country.”

Spending has focused on critical areas for Australia’s COVID-19 response, including local healthcare, essential services, business and financial support, mental health services, education and Indigenous communities.

Funding by state

Following is a summary of key funding provided to date. In addition, the BHP Vital Resources Fund is supporting a wide range of smaller projects and providing in-kind support to communities across Australia.

All figures are in Australian dollars.

Queensland and NSW

  • Vanguard Health – $7.59 million to set up and service two clinics in Central Queensland offering walk-in, drive-in, telehealth and regional outreach facilities to help ease the strain on public health facilities.
  • Oz Harvest – $790,000 to help address food shortages for vulnerable people such as the elderly or those who are quarantined.
  • Isaac Regional Council – $500,000 to provide financial support to local businesses that are ineligible for government subsidies or identified as ‘at risk’.
  • Upper Hunter Community Service – $200,000 to support emergency relief vouchers and financial support for local resident to buy food, fuel and pay bills.
  • Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service – $140,000 to help increase capacity of the medical rescue service during COVID-19.
  • CQ Financial Services – $120,000 for capacity building support to expand the service to provide tailored advice for businesses facing financial hardship.
  • Northern New South Wales Rescue Helicopter – $100,000 for the provision of emergency equipment and PPE for aircrew, medical staff and patients as they respond to COVID-19.
  • Emergency and Long Term Accommodation Moranbah (ELAM) – $95,800 to provide food and social support through extra staffing to families and individuals in need.

Western Australia

  • Telethon Kids Institute – $2.66 million for research to test the effectiveness of the drug Interferon preventing outbreaks of COVID-19 by reducing the infectiousness of people who contract the virus.
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service – $2 million to support extra capacity in the Pilbara during COVID19.
  • Foodbank WA – $1.25 million to support the purchase and distribution of food to families and communities.
  • East Pilbara Independence Support (EPIS) – $555,000 to establish a ‘quarantine house’ for six months that can be used by the Indigenous community as a safe space to self-isolate.
  • Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) – $330,000 to retain additional GP support for remote Indigenous communities in the Western Desert region.
  • Lifeline WA – $300,000 to enhance staffing capacity and mental health services across the state.
  • Bega Garnbirringu Health Service – $220,000 to help fund a range of services including support for school students and victims of domestic violence, efforts to combat homelessness and to support food security.
  • Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation (WDLAC) – $220,000 to support return to country and to provide a safe place for indigenous communities to self-isolate in the Western Desert region.
  • Kalgoorlie Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry – $120,000 to provide support for local business sustainability through online diversification.
  • Bloodwood Tree Association – $119,000 to build a mini-mart to support the South Hedland Soup Kitchen service that has seen an increase in demand for food staples due to COVID-19.

South Australia

  • Foodbank SA – $910,000 to support service delivery during COVID-19, as well as a breakfast program for school children into regional and remote communities across South Australia.
  • Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation – $190,000 to provide self-isolation accommodation options should people be displaced due to COVID-19 issues. Support includes food, hygiene and perishables for the Kokatha, Kuyani and Barngarla peoples and their extended families should they need to self-isolate during the pandemic.
  • Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation – $19,000 to provide IT equipment to Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation employees and Advisory Board to allow them to continue their business-as-usual activities in support of the Corporation’s membership.
  • Country and Outback Health – $68,000 to employ a full-time mental health clinician for six months to provide mental health support to people in the Roxby Downs and the Upper Spencer Gulf regions.
  • Andamooka community support – $58,000 to assist those who are advised to stay at home with critical food distribution and access to medical assistance.

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