Mining giant funds CQ virus testing

MINING giant BHP is financing new virus testing centres in Central Queensland following concerns about fly-in fly-out workers.

The $7.6 million dollar bequest from BHP's recently created Vital Resources Fund will finance two virus testing centres, to be erected in Moranbah and Proserpine, providing a virus fortification for communities and FIFO workers.

The donation follows what BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) Asset President James.

 

Palmer called 'a local concern about the risk of people moving' in-and-out of mining regions, as the company's mines continue to operate amid the pandemic.

BMA asset president James Palmer says strict hygienic measures are in place amid COVID-19. Picture: supplied
BMA asset president James Palmer says strict hygienic measures are in place amid COVID-19. Picture: supplied

BHP Mitsui Coal (BMC) Asset President Elsabe Muller said she hoped the new centres would 'allay' any fear of contagion associated with travelling workers.

"The health and safety of our employees, contractors and the communities in which we operate is our highest priority," she said.

It is hoped the testing centres will serve as a coronavirus bulwark, separating potentially infectious people from other hospital areas and the wider community, while simultaneously decreasing congestion of rural hospitals.

Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said BHP's multimillion-dollar bequest would bolster the Central Queensland public health system, offering virus protection to both the sector's workers and as well as residents of surrounding communities.

Queensland minister Anthony Lynham speaks during Question Time at Parliament House in Brisbane. AAP Image/Jono Searle
Queensland minister Anthony Lynham speaks during Question Time at Parliament House in Brisbane. AAP Image/Jono Searle

"The sector has taken up the challenges of changed worked practices, of social distancing, of extra hygiene and reducing its travelling workforces, while continuing to provide pay packets for Queensland families," Dr Lynham said.

"I welcome this latest move to augment the existing public health services protecting communities in Central Queensland." Dr. Lynham said.

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in QLD

 

The testing centres are expected to open in mid-May and will be managed by Vanguard Health.

Tests will be available to people presenting clear symptoms of the virus, or following high-risk interactions.

Centres will also be equipped with telehealth and triage capabilities.

BHP's initial capital will finance the centres for 6-months, with future funding a possibility.

Originally published as Mining giant funds CQ virus testing