30 Years of Olympic Dam and Roxby Downs

One of South Australia's largest employers is celebrating 30 years of excellence. The Olympic Dam mine is one of the world's great ore-bodies, creating thousands of jobs and driving economic activity over the past three decades. 

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Ken MacKenzie, Chairman of BHP

Members of the BHP Board

Andrew Mackenzie, Chief Executive Officer

Laura Tyler, Asset President, BHP Olympic Dam

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen


First, I acknowledge that we meet this evening on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people and we respect their spiritual relationship with their country.

I welcome the Board of BHP to Adelaide for tomorrow’s AGM.

As Premier of South Australia, I’m conscious that I inherit a proud tradition of close association between BHP and the government of our state.

From the days when Essington Lewis and Sir Thomas Playford created a future for one of our important regional cities by agreeing on how the company and the government would work together to establish a shipyard at Whyalla.

To the present day and our joint desire to continue the development of one of the world’s great ore-bodies at Olympic Dam.

Over that time, a lot has changed in government and business.

But some fundamentals endure.

Like the view I maintain that it’s the role of government to get behind people.

To be an enabler.

Not stand in their way.

That’s why within two weeks of becoming Premier, I visited your Head Office to advise Andrew Mackenzie of my government’s desire to work with you to continue the Olympic Dam journey.

The journey began 30 years ago with first production from the mine.

It hasn’t been without its challenges.

For BHP as well as the mine’s first owner.

But along the way already, the benefits for South Australia have been significant.

In the investment, skills and jobs brought to our State.

The royalties which benefit all our citizens.

And as importantly, the corporate citizenship.

In this, I particularly commend BHP for its tremendous support of Tarnanthi.

I have taken the aboriginal affairs portfolio in my government because there needs to be greater and much more effective effort across government to close the gap.

So I take a great interest in what others can do to support an objective we must all share.

As I have found from visiting communities throughout our State, Aboriginal people have real opportunity to build capacity and create a better future through the diversity of their art.

Tarananthi has given Aboriginal artists a national platform to present their work and I sincerely thank BHP for helping to make that possible.

I also recognise BHP’s other important contributions to our community, from its continuing financial support for the Royal Flying Doctor Service to the unique Arid Recovery ecosystem restoration initiative which is restoring wildlife across the vast arid zone of South Australia.

As well as supporting the wider South Australian community, BHP also has its own community at Roxby Downs.

My Government continues to recognise and appreciate the company’s support for maintaining Roxby Downs as an important regional town in South Australia.

In celebrating 30 years of Olympic Dam, BHP already has some significant achievements to look back on.

All South Australians look forward to many more in the years ahead.

Thank you for inviting me to be a part of the celebration.

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