As part of its response to the spread of COVID-19, BHP says it is accelerating payment of outstanding invoices and the reduction of payment terms for its small business partners and regional communities.
This support will see payment terms cut from 30 days to seven days for more than 1,100 small Australian businesses from next week, it said.
The accelerated payment program is expected to deliver around A$100 million ($57 million) more quickly into the hands of its small business partners, the company said. In this context, a small business is defined as generating less than A$10 million in revenue.
BHP CEO, Mike Henry, said looking after the wellbeing and safety of its people, communities and partners is the highest priority.
“We are taking action to reduce the risk of transmission at our sites, in our offices and in our communities. Our local and small business partners play a critical role in supporting our operations and our people, and we know this is a very difficult time for them. We must look out for each other as we manage through this together,” Henry said.
BHP has also created a A$6 million fund to support its labour hire companies and their employees. The fund will be used for one-off payments for people quarantined after entering Australia and pay for labour hire employees not entitled to sick leave but affected by COVID-19, it said.
The miner said operations at its sites continue with additional monitoring and procedures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among its workforce, clarifying that, as things currently stand, there have been no material impacts on its operations or supply chain.