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Rio Tinto Child Health Partnership

Date: 1 January 2003
Subject Matter: | Health and Community Services | Youth
Summary Information:
The Rio Tinto Child Health Partnership was launched in August 2003 ('the Partnership'). The Parties to the Partnership are:
- Rio Tinto (through Comalco, the Rio Tinto WA Future Fund, the Rio Tinto Aboriginal Foundation, Rio Tinto Iron Ore, Argyle Diamonds, Energy Resources of Australia and Rio Tinto Iron Ore);
- the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research;
- the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation;
- the Queensland Government;
- the Northern Territory Government; and
- the Western Australian Government.

The Partnership was launched nationally by Prime Minister John Howard in Canberra on 13 August 2003 (ABC Radio National 2003); by Premier Geoff Gallop in Western Australia on 25 September 2003 (Gallop 2003); by Chief Minister Clare Martin in the Northern Territory in October 2003 (Rio Tinto WA Future Fund 2003a) and by Premier Peter Beattie in Queensland on 10 December 2003 (Comalco 2003).
Detailed Information:

Key aspects
The Partnership focuses 'on early intervention at the start of a child's life' (Comalco 2003). The three key aspects of the Partnership are (see Rinto Tinto WA Future Fund 2005; Comalco 2003):

1. Extending the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey (WAACHS), that was established by the Telethon Institute for Child Research, to Queensland and the Northern Territory. The survey is designed to assemble detailed information about the health of Indigenous children, which can then be used to develop health policies. The Australian Bureau of Statistics had requested that the successful Western Australian survey be implemented nationally.

2. Encouraging healthy pregnancies by reducing the effects of alcohol and smoking. This is part of a national Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) prevention strategy. Three trial sites were established to test the strategy in Queensland in 2005 - namely, the Inala Health Service in Brisbane, the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service and the Kowanyama Community in Cape York (see Queensland Health 2005).

3. Implementing a strategy to increase the number of skilled indigenous maternal and child health care professionals in Aboriginal communities. This project is led by the Northern Territory. A trial is planned in 2006 in three states.

Aboriginal communities are to have significant involvement in shaping the projects (Northern Territory Government 2003; Fiona Stanley in CBOnline 2003).

The involvement of the three states means that '[t]he geographic spread of the Partnership relates to some two thirds of the Australian continent and is on a scale and complexity rarely seen in Australia' (Rio Tinto WA Future Fund 2005). It is envisaged that the projects will have long-term implications (Rio Tinto WA Future Fund 2005).

The funding for the Partnership includes:

Total: $5.2 million over five years

Total Rio Tinto: $2.5 million over five years
- including Rio Tinto Future Fund: $1.5 million over five years (Pilbara Iron 2004)
- including Energy Resources of Australia: $125 000 over five years ($25 000 per year for five years)

Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation: $1.35 million over three years

Queensland Government: $405 000 ($135 000 per year for three years) (Rio Tinto WA Future Fund 2003b)

Western Australian Government: $405 000 over three years (Gallop 2003)

The project is monitored by a consultative committee (Comalco 2003) in Queensland and by three working groups established within the Northern Territory Health Department (ERA 2003). The Telethon Institute for Child Health Research manages the project (Rio Tinto WA Future Fund 2005).

Related Entries

  • State of Western Australia - Signatory
  • State of Queensland - Signatory
  • Northern Territory of Australia - Signatory
  • Rio Tinto Limited - Signatory
  • Argyle Diamonds Limited - Signatory
  • Energy Resources of Australia - Signatory
  • Comalco Limited - Signatory
  • Rio Tinto Aboriginal Foundation - Signatory
  • Rio Tinto WA Future Fund - Signatory
  • Rio Tinto Iron Ore (RTIO) - Signatory
  • Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation Ltd - Signatory

  • References

    Rio Tinto WA Future Fund (2003) New National Partnership for Aboriginal Child Health
    Northern Territory Government Department of Health and Community Services (2003) Rio Tinto Child Health Partnership
    Media Release
    Comalco (2003) New Strategies to Improve Aboriginal Child Health
    Rio Tinto WA Future Fund (2005) Rio Tinto Partnering to Improve Indigenous Child Health
    Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (2003) ERA pledges $125,000 for Rio Tinto Child Health Partnership
    Rio Tinto WA Future Fund (2003) Queensland lends its support to Rio Tinto Child Health Partnership
    Queensland Health (2004) Annual Report 2003-2004
    Queensland Health (2005) Annual Report 2004-2005
    Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (2005) Aboriginal Child Health
    Rio Tinto WA Future Fund (2003) Rio Tinto Child Health Partnership
    CBOnline (2003) WA Aboriginal Child Health Partnership Launched
    Hon. Dr Geoff Gallop MLA (2003) Launch of the Rio Tinto Child Health Partnership
    WA Indigenous Health Promotion (2006) Start out strong: a national symposium promoting healthy pregnancy in indigenous communities
    Centre for Developmental Health, Curtin University of Technology (2005) Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey

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