14 September 2021
Supporting our regional communities during COVID-19
A fund of A$50 million was established by BHP to support community response and recovery efforts in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic has benefited more than 850,000 people, 300 organisations and over 400 local businesses in the regions surrounding our Australian operations.
The Vital Resources Fund (VRF) was established in March 2020 to address immediate community needs and complement government support. With communities and organisations grappling with how to deliver services, maintain operations and meet changing demands in an uncertain and rapidly evolving environment, the VRF initially provided over A$25 million to 71 projects for:
- infrastructure, services and workforces for local and regional health networks
- essential community services to keep regions strong, including food relief and daily essentials for vulnerable families
- community mental health and resilience
- remote Indigenous communities supporting Aboriginal people to self-isolate and get back to country safely
From June 2020, we implemented a more targeted approach to address identified impacts of COVID-19 resulting in more than A$23 million being allocated to 36 projects which:
- supported people in communities to maintain employment and/or engaged in relevant training
- supported local businesses by increasing demand for local products and services
- strengthened economic resilience through upgraded technology equipment, infrastructure and processes
- supported primary healthcare, mental health and emotional wellbeing, including increased access to mental health services, additional COVID-19 testing services and support to family and domestic violence services
Through the VRF, we also provided approximately A$1.6 million of in-kind value through the provision of medical personal protective equipment and other health and sanitation goods to communities and organisations where supply had been interrupted.
To date, the VRF has supported more than 850,000 people directly, including over 150,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, over 100 Indigenous communities and 10,000 socially isolated people.
Find out more on our website.