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With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to high rates of chronic illness and longstanding health inequities, BHP is bolstering peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health bodies and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical services to make sure critical health care services continue through the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of its $50 million vital resources fund set up in March.
BHP employs about 1700 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers in Australia at operations close to several remote communities.
Beneficiaries for the latest fillip include the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander health council; Aboriginal health and medical research council of New South Wales; Aboriginal health council of Western Australia; and Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal health and community services (ACT).
National Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation CEO Pat Turner said the financial donations from BHP directly to frontline primary health care services was most welcome.
"It is extraordinarily generous and will be used to directly benefit the health outcomes of First Nations people during these difficult times presented by COVID 19," she said.
"The additional work and costs arising from our exemplary efforts to protect our families and communities from COVID 19 has been a huge drain on our budgets and this additional investment will certainly ease those burdens."
BHP Chief External Affairs Officer Geoff Healy said supporting regional and remote Aboriginal communities was a critical area in the collective response to COVID-19.
"The Aboriginal community-led health sector moved early in a way that has saved so many lives, they are working incredibly hard to address the needs they have identified and we are pleased to support with significant funding that enables their vital work," Healy said.
"We know there is no room for complacency."