10 May 2023

Rio Tinto urges Weipa workers to buy local this Christmas

| Matt Nicholls
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CHRISTMAS joy will be spread across the Weipa community this year as Rio Tinto looks to support local businesses.

COVID-19 restrictions forced the mining company to scrap its end-of-year Christmas parties and look for an alternative way to thank the workers and their families.

“We know local businesses have been affected by COVID, so Rio Tinto Weipa has partnered with the local business community, through the Western Cape Chamber of Commerce, to introduce a ‘buy local’ initiative called Let’s keep it Local,” Rio Tinto Weipa acting GM Dan Kelleher said.

“Local businesses will have the opportunity to register as a store where Rio Tinto employees can spend their end-of-year recognition vouchers, valued at $100 each.

“We encourage all local businesses to participate by registering via the Western Cape Chamber of Commerce website.”

Vance Wallin, the president of the chamber, said the initiative would be a major boost for local businesses.

“If every employee gets $100 to spend locally that will put a lot of money back in the community,” he said.

“We are more than happy to facilitate this program because it directly helps locals.”

Local businesses simply need to register with the chamber and keep the vouchers that are used by the Rio Tinto workers.

“The business can then invoice the chamber. We’ll be the middle man,” Mr Wallin said.

Weipa business owner Andrew Sands, from Cape Industrial Service and Supply, said: “This is a great idea by Rio Tinto and we’re more than happy to get behind it.

“Christmas parties are on the way out and this spreads the love instead of the money going to one venue or business.

“Most Weipa businesses did it tough this year so they’ll be grateful for this support.”

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