Our approach to communities

At Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun and Queensland Alumina Limited, we recognise that strong management of our community relationships is as necessary to our business as the success of our operations. We set out to build enduring relationships that are characterised by mutual respect, active partnership and long-term commitment.

In all aspects of our work, we seek to understand the social, environmental and economic implications of our activities so that we can optimise benefits and reduce negative impacts, both for local communities and for regional and national economies.

Rio Tinto Alcan Community Fund

To support Rio Tinto Alcan’s Gladstone operations now and in planning for future closure, the Rio Tinto Alcan Community Fund supports community-based projects that can make a difference in a sustainable way without creating dependency.

In 2002, the Rio Tinto Alcan Community Fund was established. Governed by a board of community and company representatives, the Fund has since invested over $6 million directly in the Gladstone region and leveraged an additional $10 million across more than 50 partnerships.

In 2008, the Community Fund commissioned the Vision 2028 project, which identified childcare and health as areas of critical need in the Gladstone region. In order to address these areas, the Fund established the Here for Childcare and Here for Health initiatives. The success of these initiatives has increased service quality and accessibility within the Gladstone region.

Community Investment



Rio Tinto Alcan Community Fund



Sponsorships and donations



Community Investment

Note: Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun and QAL joined sponsorship and donation programmes in June 2013 and now sponsor community projects and initiatives as a single entity.

Here for Health

The Here for Health initiative commenced in early 2013, with a coming together of community leaders and health professionals to ascertain a holistic understanding of the health needs in Gladstone, and a plan for making a positive change. Since then, the following outcomes have been achieved:

Here For Health 2014
  • Organising data

    Release of the ‘One Gladstone Health Plan’, which combined the public, private and primary health care data into a single data source for the region so that all health service providers are working off a common platform;

  • Health analysis

    Release of a ‘Health Needs Analysis’ by CQ Medicare Local for the Gladstone region;

  • More professionals

    Launched, a website designed to attract health professionals to Gladstone;

  • New specialists

    Recruitment of seven new specialists through partnerships between the Gladstone and Mater Hospitals (co-located);

  • Increasing awareness

    Increased awareness through local media of the steps being taken by the committee to improve health services in the region; and

  • Improving services

    Working across various organisations to identify synergies and improve the relationships to drive a more effective and efficient health service in the region.

At a recent workshop, the Here for Health Committee agreed that it would increase its focus on integrated care between primary and tertiary health care providers in 2015.

Here for Childcare

In March 2012, the Rio Tinto Alcan Community Fund launched the Here for Childcare programme, committing $1.2 million over six years. The programme has since delivered the following outcomes, easing pressure on Gladstone’s childcare industry and families:

Here For Childcare

New family day care places created


New educator positions for long day care


Educators have up-skilled by obtaining their Diploma in Children Services


School based trainees have commenced a Certificate III in Children Services


Local residents have secured tertiary scholarships and will become Early Childhood Teachers in the future


Professional development workshops by international facilitators have been held for educators in Gladstone

Sponsorships and donations

This year QAL and Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun sponsored community projects and activities by actively contributing financial and in-kind assistance. These sponsorships largely focussed on the key areas of childcare, education and health in Gladstone.

Boyne Tannum Hook Up

In 2014, we launched a three-year partnership with the Boyne Tannum Hook Up. The partnership will see an external consultant work with the Boyne Tannum Hook Up Committee to establish a robust framework for ensuring long-term sustainability of the event, and to set the foundations for growing the event into one of national significance.

QAL and Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun also coordinated the official Boyne Tannum Hook Up merchandise sales. All profits from merchandise sales went towards supporting comprehensive mental health services from which local residents are able to seek support.

Stakeholder engagement

Integral to our approach of building enduring relationships with our local communities, Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun and QAL continue to find new (and maintain existing) avenues to facilitate open and transparent relationships.

QAL and Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun worked to strengthen community engagement in 2014 by regularly interacting with key community members and groups to discuss matters of importance to community stakeholders and the refineries.

We held the first QAL Community Day in November for residents living in the nearby areas of Barney Point, South Gladstone, Toolooa, Boyne Island, Wurdong Heights, Quoin Island and O’Connell. It was a great afternoon with residents invited to tour the refinery, discuss impacts with key subject matter experts and to register with QAL’s new Real-time Online Community System (ROCS).

By listening to our community and proactively working to build open and transparent relationships through ROCS and direct engagement with the community, QAL aims to better respond to community concerns.

Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun had to postpone its annual Yarwun Community Day due to inclement weather during December. The day took place on Sunday 1 February 2015. It was a great day with members of the local Yarwun and Targinnie communities having an opportunity to meet members of the management team, tour the refinery, and learn about the current and future position of the business.


We understand that to achieve our vision, effective communication, consultation and engagement with our stakeholders must be part of the way we work. To ensure we engage our stakeholders effectively, we actively listen to any concerns or suggestions and consider ways in which we can drive continuous improvement in what we do.

We have implemented a Real-time Online Community System (ROCS) at QAL that helps drive better communication within our impact area. This system ensures all complaints are recorded and actioned promptly.

In 2014, QAL received 55 complaints for impacts including dust, odour, noise and alkali. The number was significantly reduced from the 78 complaints recorded in 2013. At Yarwun, two complaints were received in 2014 relating to employee driver behaviour, which was addressed through internal processes.


RTAY Community Complaints*

*All RTAY Complaints registered as 'Other'


QAL Community Complaints

  • Dust
  • Odour
  • Noise
  • Alkali
  • Visible Immersions
  • Other

Cultural Heritage Management

We recognise and respect the cultural heritage of the Traditional Owners of our land. To ensure sites of cultural heritage significance are protected, we closely consult with local Aboriginal people. Following a traditional burn and artefact identification within Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun’s RMA2 lot (pictured) in 2013, verification and relocation of many artefacts to the cultural heritage landscape area was undertaken in partnership with the Port Curtis Coral Coast (PCCC) Aboriginal Corporation field officers in 2014. This work was required to prepare the site for future use. The PCCC were also engaged to undertake other monitoring works at the Yarwun refinery’s existing residue management area (RMA). In 2015, Rio Tinto Alcan will again work in partnership with the Aboriginal Corporation to evaluate and manage a number of artefact scatters located on the RMA2 site.

At QAL, no work was undertaken in 2014 that required monitoring for cultural heritage artefacts.

Cultural Heritage Management
Case Studies

Here for Health

The Here for Health Committee was formed in February 2013, and over the last 22 months, has created a positive change in our local health services.
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Here for Childcare

Through the Here for Childcare programme, 12 professional development workshops have been provided in Gladstone for those working in childcare.
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Over the years, the township of Gladstone has gradually expanded and residential areas are now much closer to the QAL refinery.
Read more