Rio Tinto Reconciliation Action Plan presented today
Rio Tinto and Reconciliation Australia today presented to Prime Minister Julia Gillard the Rio Tinto Reconciliation Action Plan, which aims to build even closer ties between business and Indigenous communities.
Sam Walsh, Rio Tinto chief executive Iron Ore and Australia, and Reconciliation Australia board member Dr Tom Calma presented the Plan to the Prime Minister at a formal handover at Parliament House as part of National Reconciliation Week.
Reconciliation Australia provided guidance and support in the development of the Plan which provides a blueprint for deeper engagement between Indigenous communities and Rio Tinto operations around Australia.
Mr Walsh said "Our Reconciliation Action Plan is an acknowledgement of the way we undertake engagement and business with Indigenous people. We believe that working in partnership with Indigenous people will ensure that they share in the economic benefits and opportunities created by our operations, which will contribute to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
"The Rio Tinto Reconciliation Action Plan reflects our journey of reconciliation which continues through new agreements we are reaching with the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we operate. In particular the Plan recognises and builds on our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy, our engagement with Aboriginal communities, and the many initiatives and achievements of the past 15 years.
“Rio Tinto is already the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with approximately eight per cent of our Australian workforce being Indigenous, but we recognise that there is considerable work to be done to close the gap and that we need to partner with organisations like Reconciliation Australia to do this. This Plan will help Rio Tinto engage all of our business units in the journey to promote reconciliation,” said Mr Walsh.
Dr Calma, who reported favourably in 2006 on Rio Tinto’s engagement practices with the traditional owners in the Argyle mine region, said the launch of Rio Tinto’s Reconciliation Action Plan was a significant step forward for the Australian mining industry, sending a powerful message of shared responsibility to the Australian business community and to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country.
"Rio Tinto today joins around 20 percent of the national workforce who have formally committed to improving relationships, respect and opportunities through a Reconciliation Action Plan.
“Over the last decade Rio Tinto has been a leader in acknowledging the strong business case for reconciliation and building communities that are strong, connected and resilient, well beyond the mine life and today raised the bar by launching this Plan and making new commitments for the coming years,” Dr Calma said.
About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Rio Tinto’s business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.
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