Contributions to Indigenous communities

Domestically, a number of OZ Mineral’s operations owe their existence to agreements with the local Indigenous people. Therefore, at these sites there is an added emphasis on ensuring that we work with the Indigenous community to ensure that they can benefit fully from any material gains the mine may bring and that operations do not adversely impact on Indigenous culture.

Prominent Hill

Prominent Hill’s Pre-employment Training Program (PEP) has been particularly successful since it was launched in late 2006. The program is run by Prominent Hill, in conjunction with TAFE. After successful completion of the 60 day program, trainees receive a nationally accredited Certificate II in Metalliferous Mining and are offered employment at Prominent Hill. Four PEPs have been run to date, with 34 people successfully completing the program. In 2008 10 trainees (5 Indigenous) completed the program and are now employed with OZ Minerals. In 2009 the program will aim to increase the number of applications and trainees from the Antakarinja Native Title Group.

Prominent Hill also contributes to education and training initiatives for the Antakarinja people through the Antakarinja Trust Fund. These initiatives include scholarships and ongoing support for educational outcomes post mine closure. In addition OZ Minerals will start making production payments in 2009, once target production levels have been achieved.

In addition to the pre-employment training program, Prominent Hill runs a number of education and Indigenous support programs in conjunction with TAFE and Compleat Personnel, including the Workplace English Language and Literacy (WELL) Program and the proposed Indigenous Mentoring Program. For the WELL program, Prominent Hill facilitated funding through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and provided ongoing in-kind support (flights, accommodation, facilities, employee time etc). This WELL Program is run by TAFE, with approved DEEWR funding of A$77,000. It targets improvements in numeracy and literacy of Prominent Hill employees (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) to support enhanced lifestyle and beeter career opportunities.

The Indigenous Mentoring Program will be run by Compleat Personnel when funding from DEEWR is finalised. The program will provide mentoring support for Indigenous employees and people from the local community. During 2009, it will focus on identifying and providing training for potential on-site mentors (Indigenous and non-Indigenous).

Management at Prominent Hill have also engaged with a local program which supports at-risk youth gaining work experience and the opportunity to participate in an apprenticeship program.

Century

At Century, Indigenous employees make up 19 per cent of the operation’s workforce (full time employees and contractors) which makes OZ Minerals an Australian leader in this field.

At Century funding for Indigenous education and pre-employment training is part of the Gulf Communities Agreement (GCA). The operation invested over A$2 million in payments to GCA Native Title groups, over A$450,000 in in-kind support (flights, accommodation and employee time) and A$330,000 for a dedicated apprentice, a trainee workshop and a coordinator as part of the GCA during the reporting period.

Century recruits and provides charter flights for employees from the Gulf communities of Burketown, Normanton, Doomadgee, Mornington Island and other regional centres. Youths in the Gulf communities are particularly encouraged to apply for apprenticeships as electricians, diesel mechanics, boilermakers, light vehicle mechanics, fitters/welders, carpenters and plumbers. These apprenticeships take four years to complete. Traineeships are also on offer for the roles of process operators, hospitality workers, office administrators and maritime workers for 18-month periods. At the end of 2008 date Century had 45 apprentices and trainees.

In 2008 two female Indigenous employees commenced trained in the Light Vehicle Workshop, two female employees commenced training in Communications and one female employee commenced as an electrical apprenticeship. Additionally an apprentice at Century was awarded Apprentice of the Year in the Australian Mining Prospect Awards and another was declared runner-up.

Golden Grove

Our Golden Grove operation invested over $290,000 in the Bayalgu Training Program during 2008. The program is a partner initiative lead by Golden Grove, designed to deliver entry level pre-employment training, and to support the employment transition of Indigenous youth in the Mid West region of Western Australia into the resources, civil construction and associated service industries. Golden Grove’s investment increased from A$200,000 in 2007 as a consequence of the strategic review of the program conducted by the operation during 2008.

A comprehensive structural review of the program was conducted to address a range of issues and barriers identified during the programs pilot phase from October 2006 until December 2007. The particular focus, scope, and intent of the review was to develop a more coherent strategic framework to in which to embed the training courses, in order to improve the programs strategic functioning, employment transition, and structures of support. The structural review has informed the development of a reconfigured partnership agreement that will frame the delivery of four training courses over the next two years.

During 2008 28 trainees graduated from the program, with 19 now employed at Golden Grove or by other program partners.

Gulf Communities Agreement Ten-year Review

The Gulf Communities Agreement (GCA) provides employment, training and business
opportunities for people of the Queensland's lower Gulf region

Participants at a youth leadership forum held at Century following the GCA Ten-Year Review

At our Century operation, increasing Indigenous employment is one of the key focuses of the Gulf Communities Agreement (GCA), a unique partnership between OZ Minerals, the Queensland Government and four Native Title Groups in the Lower Gulf region. The GCA was signed in 1997 by elders representing Waanyi, Mingginda, Ghuthaarn and Kukatj peoples. As the first agreement to be negotiated under the right-to-negotiate clause of the Native Title Act 1993 it is a landmark agreement. The GCA ten main schedules that describe the responsibilities of Century, the Native Title Groups and the Queensland Government in a range of areas, including community engagement, education and training, environment, cultural heritage and land rights.

It is a requirement of the agreement that Century and the Queensland Government conduct a review of the GCA every five years. The second of these reviews, the Ten-Year Review, was conducted during the reporting period.

Ensuring that as many people as possible felt welcome to participate in the review was a significant challenge. The Five-Year Review process was considered highly unsatisfactory by most of the Gulf Communities, so this Review had to overcome considerable negativity from the community at the start of the process. Geographically, working in the Gulf poses unique distance issues. All parties needed to balance the need for completion within a reasonable timeframe with the time-consuming consultation and feedback process.

Engagement processes for the Ten-Year Review were designed to maximise participation of Native Title Groups and the local community and included:

  • Verbal consultation with community leaders over twelve months regarding the pitfalls of the first review
  • A series of community workshops with an independent facilitator
  • Selection of a representative Steering Committee from the workshops
  • Steering Committee development of terms of reference for Ten-Year Review
  • Consultants conducting the review were briefed to engage with local communities
  • Three separate visits into communities occurred, first to gain an understanding of issues and future needs, second to validate what they had heard, third to gain acceptance of the ‘what they had heard’ publication
  • Regular reporting to the Steering Committee
  • Preparation of Final Report
  • 18 recommendations accepted by the Steering Committee on behalf of the Gulf Communities
  • Creation of the GCA Management Board (Recommendation 1)

The review produced a number of recommendations for improvement, which are now being progressed, including:

  • Formation of a new GCA Management Board, a Gulf Business Forum and a Young Leaders Forum
  • Improved strategic and organisational planning around delivery of the GCA
  • Improved monitoring of outcomes of the GCA
  • Release of A$5.7 million by Queensland Government for Social Impact Assessment, and
  • New initiatives in governance and leadership training for signatory Native Title groups, supported by federal and state governments

Originally a compliance exercise, the Ten Year Review revealed improvements Century could make to ensure that the last seven years of the mine’s life deliver the maximum benefit to the Gulf Communities in the spirit of the GCA.