25 July 2023

There's no place like home for this Rio Tinto family

| Matt Nicholls
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The Mills-Budby family loves living and working for Rio Tinto in Weipa, where they have strong ties to the community.

The Mills-Budby family loves living and working for Rio Tinto in Weipa, where they have strong ties to the community.

SIX siblings and their father are keeping it in the family when it comes to employment.

The Mills-Budby family have been living in Weipa for 25 years, ever since father David Mills came to Weipa in 1999 for a six-week holiday, only to never leave after falling in love with the place.

He worked for Queensland Rail for over 20 years before joining Comalco in Weipa, and his son Craig and five daughters Shiona, Shy-Anne, Shikita, Shanowa and Bronwyn now also work for Rio Tinto or as contractors in mine operations, plant operations, and radio communications.

“I am very proud of all my children,” said David.

“The benefits and support here helped me raise my family, and my children were able to be connected to their mother’s country.”

The Mills-Budby children are all from the Thanakwithi clan group, north of Weipa.

Many of the siblings started as trainees and have progressed their careers in different fields, including Shikita, who is now a radio technician in the radio communications team.

“The support through my career has been great, and I feel there are no silly questions when you are unsure about anything,” she said.

Shy-Anne also began as a Rio Tinto trainee before spending some time working for other mining companies and is now a mine operator at Amrun.

“Working for Rio Tinto is what you make of it. There is so much opportunity if you are willing to commit,” said Shiona, who began her career as a trainee.

She has worked in several different roles throughout her career and is now in a production superintendent position at Amrun.

As a father and grandfather, David said he was grateful for the supportive community in Weipa as his children had grown up among family and developed a safe network and strong bonds with friends that have turned into family.

Bronwyn Hall grew up with the family and David proudly refers to her as his adopted daughter and “one of the mob”. She is also a mine operator at Amrun.

The generations say that it had been inspiring to see the community of Weipa grow and progress, and to see Rio Tinto develop into a workplace that they were proud of.

“Weipa offers so many opportunities in different aspects of life. Dad being in the mining industry meant stability and a steady income,” they said.

“Now we are all here and have each other to support a great work/life balance.”

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