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Curtin and BHP Billiton Iron Ore launch Indigenous Scholarship Program

Media release

C270/08

8 October 2008

Curtin University of Technology and BHP Billiton Iron Ore today launched an Indigenous Scholarship Program to increase the university participation of indigenous students in Western Australia.

Professor Jeanette Hacket, Vice-Chancellor of Curtin, explained the need for such a program.

“We are very pleased to be able to work with BHP Billiton Iron Ore on this important and timely initiative which comes at a time when the percentage of Indigenous tertiary students in all states and territories across Australia is extremely low,” Professor Hacket said.

“Our partnership in the Indigenous Scholarship Program will be an effective way to help students to see university as a real option and to put in place the support mechanisms to enable them to succeed.”

BHP Billiton Iron Ore Vice President Human Resources, Murray Smith, said this initiative is an important step forward in providing educational and professional opportunities for local indigenous people.

“We are extremely pleased to be embarking on this opportunity with Curtin.  We look forward to being involved in a partnership that will deliver sustainable benefits to the communities in which we operate,” he said.

Professor Hacket explained that the Program also goes beyond monetary support for students and will incorporate valuable work experience while still studying.

“All Scholarship holders will receive mentoring and access to additional support services, and be granted the opportunity to participate in vacation work with BHP Billiton Iron Ore either in Perth or in the Pilbara,” she said.

The Scholarship Program offers a range of assistance to fund books and equipment, living allowance, and accommodation.

A full-scholarship valued at A$16,000 per year is also available covering all three areas of books and equipment, living allowance, and accommodation.

These scholarships are available to students in all years of study.  Scholarships are available from 2009 and will be awarded based on financial need, living arrangements, locality and area of study.

Students from the Pilbara region and those studying a degree relevant to BHP Billiton Iron Ore operations will be given preference.

Contact: Ann Marie Lim; Public Relations; Curtin; 08 9266 4241; 0401 103 532; ann.lim@curtin.edu.au or Emma Meade; External Affairs; BHP Billiton Iron Ore; 08 6224 4653; +61 409 199 236; Emma.Meade@bhpbilliton.com

Modified: 8 October 2008