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Mining giants back WA Aboriginal Cultural Centre, other key projects

Giovanni Torre -

Perth's planned Aboriginal Cultural Centre will be a key beneficiary of a $750 million investment by mining companies in Western Australia over ten years.

On Tuesday morning WA premier Mark McGowan announced the state government's new Resources Community Investment Initiative.

The Initiative, a partnership between the WA Government and the resources sector, will facilitate investment in key infrastructure projects, and community and social initiatives.

Several major mining companies have contributed to the fund.

BHP and Rio Tinto have pledged $250 million each, Hancock Prospecting reportedly $100 million, and Atlas Iron, Woodside, Chevron and Mineral Resources also contributing.

The partner companies will decide on the projects it funds through the Initiative, with individual project agreements established for each one.

Mr McGowan said the genesis of the Initiative came as his government pledged $50 million for the Aboriginal Cultural Centre, a funding commitment later matched by Anthony Albanese before the federal election in May.

While $100 million was secured the Centre, due to open in 2028, was short of its estimated $400 million budget, and Mr McGowan sought support from the mining industry.

"Considering a lot of the Indigenous heritage for the state is in the areas that are mined, I thought it was appropriate that the companies that are the beneficiaries of those areas might want to contribute to the Aboriginal Cultural Centre, which will be a magnificent world-class attraction… And so, I contacted some of the major mining companies in person and just said look, this is the idea that we have," he said.

BHP WA Iron Ore asset president Brandon Craig said the company has a long and proud history in Western Australia, and welcome the collaborative approach taken by the WA Government and the industry to strengthen their "significant contribution to this great state".

"Over the past 10 years, BHP has contributed more than $4.3 billion in social, community and training programs in Perth, the Pilbara, Port Hedland and the Goldfields, on top of tens of billions of dollars in investment, jobs, royalties and taxes," he said.

Mr McGowan said he is looking forward to seeing "some iconic State projects" delivered with the ongoing support of the sector.


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