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How it works

Posted by: Steve Gartner

June 26, 2017

Local Voices is a dynamic interaction between Pilbara communities and Rio Tinto, coordinated by CSIRO, which is providing the communities a voice that is heard by the company.

Participants from the communities of Paraburdoo, Tom Price, Pannawonica, Karratha, Wickham, Roebourne and surrounding districts, which neighbour Rio Tinto’s operations, are invited to share their views on issues related to the company’s activities through a series of surveys. CSIRO collects and analyses the data, and presents it back to the communities and to Rio Tinto in useful ways, so that clarity and understanding improve between the groups, and the company is better informed regarding issues of concern to the communities. Rio Tinto has committed to showing how this insight will inform their decision-making. While they may not be able to provide solutions to every issue identified, they have committed to respond and speak to the issues raised through local feedback channels.

The process will continue for three years, tracking what the community thinks, in near real time. It is tracking community attitudes toward issues like the effectiveness of Rio Tinto community investment programs, dust, noise, employment, skills training and development initiatives. Importantly, it is also tracking the relationship between Rio Tinto and the Pilbara communities, and whether this is strengthening.

All community members from the listed towns and districts are encouraged to take part, and the aim is to ensure that a diverse sample of community members participates.

For every completed survey, participants receive tokens which they allocate to their chosen eligible not-for-profit community group, and these are then converted to cash for the group’s use.