July 6th, 2016

Below are frequently asked questions about the Local Voices project.

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What is CSIRO?

CSIRO is Australia’s leading science and research agency. Our community survey approach helps companies understand what the communities they work alongside think about them and why, providing opportunities for building greater trust in those relationships.

What is Local Voices?

Rio Tinto has engaged CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, to conduct a three-year analysis of community attitudes to the company’s iron ore operations in the Pilbara. This is giving the communities neighbouring the operations a voice that is being heard by Rio Tinto, and is helping to inform the company’s decision making.

What is the approach?

CSIRO has developed a community survey approach which helps companies understand what the communities they work alongside think about them and why. CSIRO provides sophisticated data analysis that translates community survey data into a language that companies can engage with and respond to. Community attitude data are collected over time, analysed, and provided back to the company and community in a format that is accessible and useful. The process provides an avenue for the company to actively address issues that are important to the community.

Why is Rio Tinto seeking information from the community?

Rio Tinto wants to better understand the communities it works with, to improve relationships and build trust, based on a mutual understanding of the impacts and benefits of mining iron ore.

Which communities are being surveyed?

Community members from Paraburdoo, Tom Price, Pannawonica, Karratha, Wickham, Roebourne and surrounding districts are invited and encouraged to participate. We are aiming to reach as many community members as possible within these areas. The aim is to ensure that a diverse sample of community members participate. Use the social media icons at the top of the page to help spread the word!

What is a Local Voices ambassador?

Local Voices ambassadors are members of the Pilbara communities who have agreed to support and help promote the project. They play an important role linking the communities and the CSIRO, encouraging their networks to participate in the Local Voices project. They also advise CSIRO on the value of the process for the communities. CSIRO provides ambassadors with materials and support to perform this role.

How often do the surveys take place?

The anchor survey takes place once every three years. Pulse surveys then take place monthly for at least the following three years. The first anchor survey was undertaken between July and September 2017. The anchor survey is now closed, but it is not too late for community members to join and participate in the ‘Pulse’ surveys.

What will the surveys ask?

The surveys aim to find out about community attitudes towards issues such as but not limited to the effectiveness of Rio Tinto community investment programs, dust, noise, employment, skills training and development initiatives. The survey also focuses on the nature of the relationship between community members and the company.

How long will the surveys take to complete?

Following a 10 minute registration, the monthly pulse surveys should take just 5 minutes to complete.  The anchor survey was a more detailed survey, taking approximately 20 minutes to complete. The results of the anchor survey determine the items included in the ‘Pulse’ surveys.

Can the surveys be completed via tablet or mobile device?

Yes, the surveys can be completed on any device able to access the online survey platform. The survey is rendered according to the screen size of mobile device. Most modern mobile browsers will be compatible with our mobile surveys, which includes: iPhones, iPads, Androids phones and tablets, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and more.

Are the surveys confidential?

CSIRO has a strict ethics framework that protects the rights of research participants. All data are maintained securely, and no personal information or information that would enable identification of individuals is made available to Rio Tinto. Participant confidentiality and anonymity are assured.

Within CSIRO, participant personal information and their survey response data are kept physically separate and only accessible by a small number of senior project members. All other parties, including Rio Tinto, receive an aggregated summary of responses by community, not the raw data.

What happens to the survey data?

CSIRO will analyse the survey data collected and provide the information back to the communities and to Rio Tinto in a format that is accessible and useful.

Rio Tinto Headquarters in London also receives the summary of data collected in the Pilbara and other Rio Tinto locations around the world so they can track how well each site engages with communities neighbouring their operations.

The aggregated data may be used for the following:

  • to identify and understand drivers of trust and acceptance of Rio Tinto
  • in community engagement activities, and in various company communication materials and reports
  • to inform future decisions and activities of industry and policy makers
  • to produce reports and scientific papers
  • in a broader program of CSIRO research that aims to understand the relationships between mining and communities at different levels across time.

The data may be licensed to a separate entity to enable continued data collection past the initial three-year agreement between CSIRO and Rio Tinto. This will enable a long-term view of community attitudes and how they change over time. Your personal details will not be included with the data. You will be contacted by CSIRO in these circumstances with an opportunity to either opt out or continue participation in the study with the new entity.

How will Rio Tinto respond to the information from the surveys?

Rio Tinto has committed to use this data to achieve outcomes that matter to your community. The survey data will also inform Rio Tinto’s community engagement approach, and development within the Pilbara region.

What are the incentives to register with Local Voices?

When participants complete the anchor survey, they receive 20 tokens which they can allocate to an eligible not-for-profit community group. For each pulse survey completed, participants earn four tokens which they can similarly allocate. When a community group accrues 1000 tokens, CSIRO will deliver a payment of $500 for their use. Alternatively, the community group can cash in tokens pro rata after 6 months if they haven’t yet reached 1000 tokens. For example, 500 tokens would be equal to $250.

Which community groups are eligible for rewards through the incentive scheme?

Community groups that are eligible include schools, charities, and not-for-profit clubs and organisations operating within the Pilbara region. Groups must be nominated for the rewards program by a community member who has been authorised by the group, before they can receive tokens. Full eligibility criteria, and terms and conditions, can be found here, and groups can be nominated here.

What happens if someone wants to stop participating in the Local Voices surveys?

Participation is completely voluntary and participants can stop at any time without any consequence. While retracting data is not possible once results are published, you are free to withdraw your participation at any time, without prejudice, penalty or having to provide a reason for your withdrawal.

What happens if someone decides they would like to participate in Local Voices, but they didn’t participate in the anchor survey?

This is ok, you can join Local Voices at any time. CSIRO will send a link to the pulse survey that is underway at that time and will continue to send invitations each month until you tell them otherwise.