Rio Tinto, RFDS to soar above Queensland during COVID-19

Rio Tinto Pacific Operations general manager Kellie Parker and Royal Flying Doctor Service Queensland chief executive Meredith Staib at the RFDS base at Brisbane Airport Brisbane Domestic Airport. Picture: Patrick Hamilton

Rio Tinto has partnered with Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Queensland to improve emergency and remotely delivered health care services across the region.

The mining company pledged $1.25 million to RFDS Queensland over five years in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rio Tinto has long been a partner of RFDS Western Australia.

The new partnership in Queensland will see Rio Tinto help fund construct and maintain a new patient transfer facility in Gladstone.

It will also contribute to the construction of aeromedical retrieval simulation hub in Bundaberg, which will use virtual reality, augmented reality and immersive training scenarios to attract and train aeromedical professionals.

Rio Tinto Aluminium Pacific operations managing director Kellie Parker said the company’s priority was the safety and wellbeing of its people and communities.

“The Flying Doctor provides a vital service to remote and rural areas,” she said.

“This partnership will help improve medical access and services for people in these areas across the state, including where we operate, at Gladstone and on Cape York Peninsula.”

Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) chief executive Meredith Staib said the service was pleased to welcome Rio Tinto as a principal partner.

“Improving our infrastructure does require a significant investment and a strategic partnerships such as this will allow us to do just that,”she said.

The initiative followed Rio Tinto’s 6000 litres of hand cleaning products donation to remote communities in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.

The recipients are communities in the Pilbara, (Roebourne, Tom Price, Pannawonica, Paraburdoo), and the Kimberley, as well as communities in Queensland (Weipa) and Northern Territory (Nhulunbuy and West Arnhem).

The products were sourced from a local family-owned Western Australian manufacturer based in Perth.