partnering stronger communities
Greening Australia, Bluearth and Alcoa
Partnering stronger communities is a fundamental value for Alcoa. Recently we partnered with Greening Australia in Victoria to work collaboratively on a new land management project in Geelong, while in WA kids are getting fit for life thanks to our involvement with the Bluearth Institute.
Kids in Peel to be fit for life
Alcoa has one of the lowest lost workday injury rates in Australia and we believe that our health and safety expertise is a valuable asset that can be used to build capacity in the broader community.
In line with our commitment to partner with organisations which promote and encourage safe and healthy families, Alcoa is supporting the Bluearth program which has been running successfully in schools around Australia for many years thanks to the Bluearth Institute. The program aims to give children the lifelong love of physical activity, which is becoming increasingly important as the obesity epidemic becomes a serious problem in our community.
Alcoa’s $70,000 partnership with the Bluearth Institute will see the Bluearth program rolled out at ten schools in the Peel region. Students will be give the opportunity to explore their co-ordination, agility, speed, motor skills, stability, flexibility, cardiovascular adaptation and balance within a fun and supportive environment.
Teachers in the Peel region will be training and accredited to ensure that, long after the funding as been utilised, many more children in years to come will continue to reap the benefits of Alcoa’s contribution.
Pinjarra Refinery Manager, Armando Torres said: “It’s rewarding to see children enjoying themselves and even better when they’re participating in activities that contribute towards a healthy future.”
“Alcoa’s involvement stems from our desire for children in the Peel region to obtain the skills to be fit for life and fit for work when they get old enough,” he said.
More than 30,000 children and 1,100 teachers from the Kimberley to Ballarat are experiencing the program. Alcoa is the first corporate to become involved in the program. The Bluearth Institute hopes that Alcoa’s involvement will set an example which may encourage other major corporate businesses to assist in other areas of Australia.
The Bluearth Institute was founded by software entrepreneur Malcolm Freake, whose family trust has donated $12 million to implement the program. The Freake family continues to invest more than $2million annually to underwrite the Institute’s activities.
New partnership with Greening Australia
Alcoa owns large amounts of land around our operating facilities and while many of our sites already put this land to sustainable use, Alcoa’s Point Henry Smelter has recently embarked on a new initiative – known as Moolapio.
Moolapio is a partnership with Greening Australia. The vision for the partnership is for Alcoa’s Point Henry site to become one of the world’s most unique and important centres for developing grassland restoration technologies and showcasing their practice to industry partners and the wider community.
To achieve this Alcoa and Greening Australia have developed and are implementing a management plan to conserve, enhance and restore the flora and fauna of Point Henry in Geelong.
The partnership has strong, long-term objectives, striving for:
• Community engagement;
• Knowledge sharing and capacity building between our organisations;
• Inspiring and engaging positively with employees and their families; and
• Long-term landscape and wetland restoration
The first 12 months of the Moolapio partnership have seen:
• A 2km section of shelterbelt planted with 5500 tubestock of local indigenous plants. The shelterbelt will protect the grassland from weed infiltration from non-native species. Direct seeding of 15.1km of seedline has also taken place to create a dense buffer of more easily germinated species.
• A Seed Production Area established with approx 500 boxes of significant indigenous grassland species producing seed to be used in the grassland establishment. This production area is supported by a 22,000 litre water tank using treated effluent water in a design specific irrigation system. This Seed Production Area has already produced enough seed to sow the first 3 hectares
• Research projects carried out by Deakin University students examining the flow regimes required to support a biodiverse ecosystem in the coastal wetlands along Point Henry Rd. This study will continue into 2009 and will establish a best practice approach for the wetland system into the future.
• A strong community engagement program developed with a large group of volunteers already regular attendees at community events. These have included bat surveying, Clean Up Australia Day activities where and a World Wetland Day Tour of regional wetlands in partnership with other significant stakeholders
• The schools program established with Certificate 1 in Conservation & Land Management being offered to Secondary students taking part in the VCAL program (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning). This program caters for students who do not wish to complete the standard VCE program but complete a more hands-on approach to learning. Students graduate with a Nationally recognized certificate.
• Landscaping throughout the plant has been undertaken with a program called “Planting in the Plant” to engage Alcoa employees in renewing and maintaining their work environment. A series of workshops is also planned to encourage sustainable workplace and domestic practices throughout the year.
The Moolapio project builds on Alcoa’s success of developing community assets on our land in other areas of the country. In Victoria, Alcoa Portland Aluminium’s iconic Smelter in the Park and the Anglesea Heath are examples of this.
Portland Aluminium's Smelter in the Park is a community landmark and over the past 20 years Alcoa has developed the 500 hectares of land surrounding the plant into wetlands and parklands. Through initiatives such as wildlife monitoring and research, weed control, vermin control, wetland rehabilitation and revegetation, the area has been turned into a haven for wildlife and the community.
The Anglesea Power Station worked with the local community and government agencies to create the Anglesea Heath, the name given to the 6884 ha conservation and recreation area of its 6676 ha mining lease. The land is co-managed by Alcoa and its partners as if it were a State Park. It is the first case in Australia where a conservation agency, community and industry have come together to form a cooperative partnership to manage an area for conservation and recreation.
In Western Australia the Pinjarra and Wagerup refineries are surrounded by a farmlands business which we call Alcoa Farmlands. It is the largest beef breeding herd in the South-West of Australia consistently producing top quality beef for the community.
Along with Moolapio, these projects demonstrate that industry, community and the environment can coexist in harmony.
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