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Santos today announced that it will spend over $6 million supporting six new initiatives as part of its South Australian Community Fund. Community partners to benefit from the initiatives are the Adelaide Zoo, the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, the Asthma Foundation of SA, the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Come Out – the Australian Festival for Young People, and the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Santos has long embraced its role as a leading South Australian corporate citizen with a wide range of sponsorships and direct funding for entities including the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the Australian School of Petroleum at the University of Adelaide, and Santos Stadium. Over the past year, additional sponsorships have included support to enable the Royal Institution and the University College London to establish in Adelaide.

The six new initiatives announced today include:

  • Funding of $2 million for the Adelaide Zoo to establish the Santos Conservation Centre, a new exhibition space and theatre that will be located at the entrance to the Adelaide Zoo. It will be freely accessible by the public and present issues and activities designed to raise community awareness of nature conservation.
  • The Botanic Gardens of Adelaide will use its $2 million funding for three important initiatives: the restoration of the Museum of Economic Botany, the establishment of the Kitchen Garden program and the Seed Conservation Program. The work of the gardens is increasingly important as we face the challenges of water and climate change.
  • Funding for the Asthma Foundation of SA will be used in a range of activities that increase the awareness of asthma in the community and help those people who have asthma to better manage their condition. The innovative programs undertaken by Asthma SA improve the health and wellbeing of the South Australian community and they will receive $600,000 over three years to increase their capacity to deliver these programs.
  • Santos will be a Foundation Partner and contribute $300,000 to the first Starlight Express Room in South Australia, to be opened later this year by the Starlight Foundation at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. This facility will make hospital stays a little easier for seriously ill children in South Australia.
  • The Santos Community Fund has invested in a new multi-dimensional indigenous program at the Art Gallery of South Australia and will contribute $1,050,000 over a five-year period. It will be used to make the gallery’s significant collection of indigenous art available online and to support a major touring exhibition of Central and Western desert painting.
  • Santos is supporting Come Out – the Australian Festival for Young People, a highly acclaimed event and Australia’s longest running arts festival for young people. The focus of this three-year $90,000 partnership is the People’s Puppets Project workshop in Whyalla, close to Santos’ Port Bonython hydrocarbon processing and shipping facility.

Santos Chief Executive Officer David Knox said these initiatives showed Santos’ continuing commitment to making a positive contribution to the South Australian community.

“Santos has a strong connection to South Australia, it is where our business started and from this base we have grown to be a major energy company, with high quality assets and projects throughout Australia and the Asia Pacific region,” he said.

“We have invested in the South Australian community for over 25 years and these new arrangements continue that commitment.

“We want to make a difference in the communities we are part of and these new recipients of the Santos Community Fund have all been selected because of the positive impact they have on the community.”

Premier Mike Rann said he was delighted that Santos is supporting such a diverse group of organisations and community programs in South Australia.

“Santos late last year also made a $10 million contribution to the new University College London (UCL) campus in Adelaide to fund scholarships, research and the sponsorship of a professorial chair.

“University College London, one of the top 10 world universities in the world, set up its only campus outside of London for the first time in its 183-year history in Adelaide this year.

“In partnership with Santos, UCL will build the skills we need in science, energy and resource management that will be needed most by our burgeoning mining industry in the future.

“Santos’ $60 million Social Responsibility and Community Benefits program is a key part of the State Government’s agreement to lift the company’s 15 percent share cap which came into effect at the end of November last year – and continues their exemplary track record of supporting the SA community.

“At a time when the global financial crisis is having a marked downturn on corporate sponsorship of community events, I am delighted that Santos is allocating these much-needed funds for projects in need.

“I hope it will inspire other corporations to continue to give generously to worthy community organisations and events where they can,” Mr Rann said.