State Library and Rio Tinto recognised for improving literacy

  • State Library and Rio Tinto win Corporate Social Responsibility Excellence category at Pinnacle Awards
  • Rio Tinto commits a further $1.42 million to the Better Beginnings Family Literacy Program
  • Better Beginnings reaches 96 per cent of Western Australian families 
  • Last night (March 21), Rio Tinto and the State Library of Western Australia were awarded the Hawaiian Corporate Social Responsibility Excellence Award at the Australian Institute of Management WA Pinnacle Awards.

    The Pinnacle Awards are one of Western Australia's most reputable business awards. The award includes leadership and management training to the value of $20,000 to be donated to a charity of the recipient's choice.

    Rio Tinto and the State Library won the award for their long-term partnership and commitment to improving literacy rates in the State, through the vehicle of the Better Beginnings Family Literacy Program.

    Over the 15 years of the partnership, 700,000 Better Beginnings reading packs have been provided to Western Australian families. The program now reaches 96 per cent of families with newborn babies and 98 per cent of kindergarten students.

    The result of the program has seen the language competence of Western Australian children, when entering school for the first time, rise from well below the national standard in 2009 to being on par with children Australia-wide in 2015.

    Rio Tinto has recently renewed their support for Better Beginnings, committing a further $1.42 million over the next five years to ensure the program continues to deliver literacy support to young children across the State.

    The charity chosen for the training prize is the Smith Family who contribute to the delivery of the State Library's Literacy Strategy as a member of the WA Literacy Alliance, a partnership between key government agencies and community organisations that deliver literacy outcomes in our communities.

    For details about the program, visit the Better Beginnings website at

    As stated by Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman:

    "Early intervention programs such as Better Beginnings are crucial for our young people to achieve their full potential.

    "Literacy is particularly important, which in turn is why our public libraries are so important.

    "This long-term partnership between Rio Tinto and the State Library is a model for how the Government and private sector can work together to achieve common goals, and I commend Rio Tinto for its commitment in supporting Western Australian families.

    "I am very proud of the work that the State Library does in the literacy space and as a co-ordinator of this program throughout Western Australia.

    "As the Minister for Local Government, I am also very proud of the work being done by public libraries. It is great to see State and local governments working together in partnership to deliver public library services.

    "I also applaud the choice of the Smith Family as the recipient of the prize money. The work the Smith Family does with school age children, supporting them with the resources they need to attend school, picks up where Better Beginnings leaves off, with a key focus of supporting low socioeconomic families.

    "Better Beginnings gives children a great start to their education and supports families in creating positive futures."

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