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A boost for Indigenous communities to combat COVID-19

In support of efforts to close the COVID-19 vaccination gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia, BHP recently provided A$2 million to peak Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) across Australia.

These funds will see Queensland, Western Australian, New South Wales and South Australian ACCHOs receive A$500,000 to distribute to their local Aboriginal Medical Service members, or to collective programs that help local medical services accommodate demand. 

The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) has collaborated with BHP since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. AHCWA Chairperson, Vicki O’Donnell, shared how this collaboration has benefited Indigenous communities to prepare and sustainably support the ACCHO sector during this time.

“The ACCHO sector has been recognised across the country for setting the standard in delivering innovative and culturally-secure primary health care practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” said Ms O’Donnell.

“Partnering with BHP has been key to our sector’s success, and AHCWA welcomes this further funding commitment to support our people to get vaccinated. This is the most critical health challenge of our time and requires a joint effort between governments, corporates, philanthropic organisations and ACCHOs.”

This contribution builds on a donation of A$3.9 million in 2020, which laid the foundation for partnerships between BHP and organisations in the Indigenous-led health sector as COVID-19 risks emerged.

BHP Minerals Australia President, Edgar Basto, shared his perspective on the work being delivered in the communities where we operate and throughout Australia.  

“The outstanding leadership, advocacy and efforts from the Indigenous health sector during the pandemic is commendable,” said Edgar.

“This ongoing commitment will support locally-relevant and trusted primary health care delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and contribute to ensuring that communities are well-equipped to respond to the future emergence of variant strains, particularly as borders re-open.

“We are proud to continue our support for their work and expertise, which will deliver the right outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Alongside these investments, BHP teams have worked in partnership with Traditional Owners, Indigenous communities and organisations in the regions where we operate, to support initiatives that protect people and enable access to appropriate health advice.

If you’re an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person wondering about vaccination, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has resources available to answer any questions. You can also find more advice through your local Aboriginal Medical Service where you can speak to a nurse, doctor, or Aboriginal Health Worker or Practitioner about any COVID-19 or vaccination concerns, or to book an appointment to get vaccinated.