Chapter 4 Fresh food access and supply
The main source of food to people living in remote Indigenous
communities is the store. While some people supplement their supply of fresh
food through market gardens, fishing, and small food industries, they rely on
the store for the bulk of their food stock.
Therefore, consistent regular access to healthy food at the store in
remote Indigenous communities is essential. Health experts maintain that many
of the foods that remote Indigenous communities need in order to avoid ill
health are perishable and it is essential that stores are stocked with fresh
food at least every week. Freight expert Ian Lovell
contended that of the products which need to be consumed to counter health
problems in remote Indigenous communities, 50 per cent are perishable. This
means there is a need for weekly transport service to remote Indigenous
communities to deliver appealing fresh produce. If weekly transport is not
possible, adequate storage is required at the store.
The Committee found that food quality and supply is poor and costs are
high in remote Indigenous communities, particularly for fresh fruit and
vegetables. Surveys, such as the Northern Territory
Market Basket survey, the Queensland Healthy Food Access Survey and surveys of
Government Business Managers in the Northern Territory reveal that remote
communities have insufficient access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
Dr Adam Pritchard, Medical Officer, Royal Flying Doctor Service,
Queensland was frustrated that, due to poor supply, people were unable to take
action on his advice to eat healthy food:
It is disheartening, in a way, to give someone some advice
and then see them not be able to put that into practice—if you say, ‘Eat more
fruit and vegetables. Eat healthy options’ and they are not then able to buy
those things at the store.
Poor food supply in remote Indigenous communities undermines efforts to
address the poor nutrition and health status of the Indigenous people living
there. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition Strategy
and Action Plan (NATSINSAP) states:
Strategies to address improved access to good quality,
affordable, healthy foods – particularly fresh vegetables and fruit – in remote
communities is fundamental to the prevention of chronic diseases such as
diabetes, heart disease, overweight and obesity.
This chapter considers issues related to ensuring the security and
integrity of the food supply chain to remote communities, including the
development of alternative purchasing and delivery models. It also considers
store infrastructure to maintain food quality and opportunities to encourage
the local supply and production of fresh foods.
The tyranny of distance
The challenges of freighting goods, especially perishable goods, to
remote Indigenous communities include: the time it takes to travel the
distance, the ease of access due to the conditions of roads, rail, access
channels and barge ramps, and weather conditions. Many witnesses described the
difficulties of getting goods freighted to remote communities within good
timeframes. Some stores order two weeks before the stock is received and when
managers order they generally have another order in transit.
There are seasonal disruptions to road access in some communities, such
as during the wet season. Aboriginal communities in Cape York and Arnhem Land
are geographically isolated during the ‘Wet ’ from August to the November. During
the wet season road food supply can be cut off entirely for a month or more. In
the Torres Strait, safe navigation and access is impeded by tides and currents.
Some communities across Australia rely on air drops.
In the Torres Strait, the effectiveness of freight is totally reliant on
the condition of the sea and infrastructure at delivery points. Seaswift, the
only freight company servicing the Torres Strait Islands, referred to problems
with infrastructure which affect delivery times. The Committee heard that poor
road conditions affect the timeliness and cost of freight to remote Indigenous
In Western Australia, the Government introduced the State Isolated
Communities Freight Subsidy Emergency Management Plan which provides a
freight subsidy for the difference between the normal freight cost and the cost
incurred using an alternative means of supply. The freight subsidy only applies
to approved life sustaining commodities for communities with retail outlets and
the communities prone to isolation are required to minimise the need by
stockpiling supplies before the wet season.
Because of the access and time challenges associated with freighting
large distances to remote Indigenous communities, consideration must be given
to threats to the cold chain for perishable items.
To highlight the importance of the cold chain link during the
transportation of fresh food to remote Indigenous communities, Ian Lovell, freight
logistics expert, asked the question: ‘Would you rather eat a crisp lettuce or
a limp one; a rotten apple or a fresh one?’ Mr Lovell referred to a study which
found that after a customer buys a poor plum or nectarine, they will not re-buy
that product for at least another six weeks. When poor food is
presented on shelves in remote Indigenous communities it will not be sold and
is often thrown out.
Alternatively, when good quality fresh food is presented it will be
bought, sometimes despite high costs. Joseph Elu, Mayor, Northern
Peninsula Area Regional Council (NPARC), put the success of the Seisia store
down to the better quality fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and smallgoods
available for purchase.
The Committee heard that there is demand for fresh fruit and vegetables
and in many communities children are choosing oranges cut into quarters as a
reward instead of lollies. Professor Johnathan Carapetis,
Director, Menzies School of Health Research, stated:
… the concept many people have that if good quality
affordable food were available to Aboriginal people they would still choose to
eat an unhealthy diet. This is an absolute myth that needs to be busted. There
is evidence available already that if good quality affordable food is available
it will be purchased and consumed.
Ian Lovell referred to an apple possibly passing 34 sets of hands from
orchard to store customer. Products are being
packed and unloaded in the sun and transport systems may be temperature
compromised. Therefore there are many steps along the freight journey which
potentially interrupt the cold chain. Stock does get damaged and witnesses
referred to the criticality of not breaking the cold chain; as soon as the cold
chain is broken the quality of the food deteriorates.
Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA) stated that from time to
time it does not accept goods due to a quality issue. The predominant ongoing
problem affecting the quality of product is directly linked to packaging and
Store groups, such as the Islanders Boards of Industry and Service
(IBIS), will inspect the quality of produce before it is shipped and select
only produce which can withstand the rigours of the supply chain.
Island and Cape management inspect the quality of fruit and vegetables at their
Cairns warehouse before they are dispatched in the chiller to their stores in
Cape York and the Torres Strait islands. Island and Cape also use a mini
data-logger system every two to three weeks in each store to monitor the
temperature of the products through to store, which highlights where any
problems might lie.
Purchasing and supply models
Different stores have developed different supply models to increase
frequency of supply and reduce freight costs. Different supply models are
addressed below. The issue of freight costs to remote communities is discussed
in Chapter 5.
Regional coordination models
Some remote Indigenous community stores within close proximity of each
other have consolidated their freight logistics to receive a more efficient
supply. Most remote Indigenous community stores in a cluster group receive
weekly deliveries. Successful regional
coordination models include:
n Outback Stores uses
aggregated buying power and retail experience to create clusters of stores that
give communities access to the best suppliers and the best food at the best
quality and price. The clustering of stores gives the group buying power to
negotiate good deals with suppliers.
n In the Anangu
Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia, eight stores joint
tender for the supply of produce. The stores receive weekly deliveries from
Alice Springs. Also, all the communities have agreed to have standardised
freight costs across the stores. So, in negotiations with the transport company
the freight costs were averaged out across the stores, irrespective of how
remote they are.
n IBIS has a
centralised group buying process that operates out of Cairns. Costs are
absorbed by the group as a whole, not by individual stores, and IBIS doubted
that the outer island stores would break even if they operated under a single
store model. The supply chain to the islands of the Torres Strait is complex
and accumulates significant freighting costs, especially to the outer islands.
IBIS cross-subsidises unhealthy food against healthy food in order to sell
fresh produce at a cheaper rate than it would otherwise be.
n In the Ngaanyatjarra
Lands in Western Australia, a single supplier services 12 community stores in
the Lands which provides for reliable supply and reduced costs to the stores.
n Communities in the
Dampier Peninsula in Western Australia are working collaboratively to a
combined freight strategy.
Regional supply models can be effective ways to increase the frequency
of supply. The Committee heard that in 2006 three stores (Balgo, Mulan and
Billiluna) in the East Kimberley coordinated freight so the stores received
weekly instead of fortnightly deliveries. Sales of fruit in the Billiluna store
went up 70 per cent.
However, freight monopolisation can increase costs to other stores or knock
out regional buying power options. For example, in April 2008, the Balgo store
(mentioned in the above paragraph and operated by Outback Stores) withdrew from
the group freight arrangement, so the other two stores went back to fortnightly
deliveries and the percentage of sales of fruit went down again.
Group purchasing models
Store group operations such as ALPA, Outback Stores, Island and Cape,
IBIS, and the Queensland Department of Communities stores have evolved group
purchasing models to reduce cost and improve quality and supply of stock. These
purchasing models produce stock volumes sufficient enough to negotiate
favourable trading terms from wholesalers and improved services from freight
An example is IBIS which operates in the Torres Strait and uses Seaswift,
the freight company which has the monopoly in the region to provide the freight
service from Cairns to its stores. Supply is generally weekly, even to the
outer islands. IBIS also maintains a
computer system which allows IBIS management in Cairns to capture data on stock
levels in the stores.
An independent purchasing group in Western Australia is WA Buying
Services (WABS) which services 14 remote stores by offering an online shopping
catalogue for store managers to order from. WABS coordinates freight of all
dry, frozen and chilled goods, groceries, fresh fruit and vegetables, and meat
and dairy products. Also, WABS worked with the state health department to
review and endorse healthy alternatives in their catalogue which they review
Purchasing groups can ease the burden on store managers who do not have
the time to research better freight strategies for their communities.
However, Alastair King, General Manager, ALPA stated that it is ‘critical’ that
store managers have control over ordering and described the ALPA central buying
You put standard operating procedures in your store, you give
your managers policies to abide by and you have central buying. … We also have
a minimum core range that they must stock, but the store managers actually do
the ordering and they can add to the range any time they like. They can have a
go at anything they want to have a go at. 
Ian McDowell, who has worked as a store manager in various locations in
Northern Territory and Queensland, reflected on the importance of store
managers being able to have some influence over what is being ordered into the
I think so, because you are able to reflect what is required.
However, there is that core range of products that you have to carry. Given
that there is a core range, the range that you do carry should reflect what is
going on in that community.
In speaking about range of products in the store, John Kop, Chief
Executive Officer of Outback Stores, stated that all store committees should
have input on their range. There would be a ‘core range’ which is the minimum
range of goods that people would purchase and the community has absolute
discretion over things they would like in their store. Despite the ordering
being controlled in a centralised environment, the store manager makes the
decision on quantity and is the crucial contact point for anything the
The communities the Committee visited with stores managed by ALPA and
Outback Stores were happy with their ability to engage with store managers
about the store generally and the produce that was being ordered in.
Conversely, the Committee was advised that group operators in Queensland
were not engaging with communities or store managers on what was being supplied
to their store. Joseph Elu, Mayor, NPARC asserted that local store managers
working for IBIS did not have ordering powers ‘so they are not really managers;
they are just shop assistants…They just sell whatever Cairns supplies them
In communities in the Torres Strait and Cape York, store managers and
community members believed they had no influence in supply when they gave
feedback about stock levels and the types of products they wanted in their
IBIS responded that it is the job of IBIS store managers to provide
feedback relating to stock levels and requests for stock holdings; store
managers are welcome to make suggestions to the buyers and the Regional
Managers about new product lines or discontinuing non-selling stock: ‘The IBIS
Store Managers are the IBIS managers on the ground and we rely on them to tell
us how to serve our customers.’
The Queensland Government stated that store managers of the Department
of Communities stores have access to the centralised ordering system and are
required to review, confirm and change any order generated. Store managers may
add or reduce quantities and request additional items not in the order.
The Committee observed some risks associated with centralised supply
models as there was a sense of loss of influence by communities and store
An important factor in the supply of foods and goods is whether they are
to client preference and the correct amount stock has been ordered. There must
be mechanisms in place for communities to provide input on supply preferences.
The Committee strongly urges all community store operators, whether
federal, state or privately owned and managed, to ensure that there are
appropriate opportunities for communities to request items and that store
managers have the autonomy to meet the preferences of different communities.
The Committee considers that every remote Indigenous community should be
empowered to provide input into the supply of goods to their store.
Other supply models
Some witnesses asserted that there is not one blanket solution to fresh
food supply to remote Indigenous communities; it has to be solved community by
community. Ian Lovell is the author
of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing funded Freight Improvement
Toolkit which states:
Freight service requirements vary for different supply
chains, so each community store, or group of communities and stores, need to
make sure they develop their own freight documentation and business plans and
contracts to reflect their individual needs.
Some remote Indigenous communities are developing innovative ways to
access quality foods, for example:
n Hub and spoke—Laynhapuy
Homelands Association Incorporated was in negotiations with Outback Stores to
develop a hybrid model involving distribution warehousing, bush orders, kiosk
style outlets and the potential for conventional stores at largest homelands.
The model seeks to have freight cost equalisation across the homelands. The
model is a significant departure from the conventional community store model
that Outback Stores has been involved in. The business plan seeks capital
funding from Government,
n Bush orders—the
Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) provides a mobile store service to
remote dwelling outstation people. This service supplies the people in the
Homelands at same price as is paid in the shop in Maningrida,
n Regular pick up
from major centre—the Jarlmadangah Burru Aboriginal Corporation in remote
Western Australia runs a truck to Broome every fortnight to pick up a pre-packed
supply of vegetables, eggs, frozen meats and chickens from distributors, and
other groceries and dry goods from the major supermarkets. The community can
take advantage of the weekly specials and will pay the same price as they would
in Broome. The Finke River Mission
store also operates it own refrigerated trailer to Alice Springs weekly,
n Own freight
service—the BAC runs its own road freight service which costs approximately
40 per cent less than the barge service and has a shorter turnaround time of
two days as opposed to four days.
Mr Lovell proposed the Commonwealth Government establish a small
national remote Indigenous food supply chain coordination office to foster and
n commitment by supply
chain partners to improve performance,
n cooperation of
communities to group-buy services and operate to common benchmarks,
n communication specifically
on supply chain issues,
n capability to gain
knowledge and resources to improve supply chain performance, and
n capacity to spend
enough time on improving supply chain operations and monitoring food
Mr Lovell explained further that the small group of freight
facilitators—perhaps one person in each state coordinated by one person
centrally—could work with individual communities and stores to review how their
supply chain is performing:
They could maintain a freight issues log so you could pick up
where problems are occurring. They could improve cold chain management and
supply chain performance. More importantly, they could look at connecting
communities through group freight buying and they could assist in setting
performance benchmarks for each person in the supply chain. They could ensure
that the procurement of freight services and suppliers is clear and
transparent, which is not always the case.
He suggested the coordination team be funded for a term of about three
years and ensure that learning is shared broadly. Supply models developed by
some of the initial communities could be used as demonstrations of what can be
done. Freight coordinators would made connections with freight sinks or
receivers, such as mining operations, to approach freight providers with enough
facts about volumes for an improved service.
Clustering stores in order to bulk purchase would appear to achieve cost
savings and efficiencies in purchasing power and transport logistics including
the frequency of delivery (for example, weekly rather than fortnightly). Regular
freight into communities reduces the need for additional storage and mitigates
any stock deterioration that may occur during transport.
The Committee is supportive of individual or regional groupings of
communities developing supply models which suit their long term sustainability.
The Laynhapuy Homelands Association Incorporated’s hub and spoke business
proposal demonstrates that if communities are committed and have the resources,
they will develop a supply model to suit their unique circumstances.
The Committee supports the proposal of Ian Lovell that the Australian
Government establish a national remote Indigenous food supply chain
coordination office to work with different communities to be innovative and
develop sustainable supply models to suit their distinctiveness. It is
important that the government coordination body does not enforce any particular
model but provides the logistical expertise for communities to develop the most
effective and efficient model for their location and needs.
The coordination office would supply information to communities and
provide practical advice on the implementation of supply models. This would
also address concerns that some stores may be being negatively impacted by
their exclusion from the Outback Stores regional cluster model. A coordination
office may assist them to participate in this cluster model or develop their
own appropriate supply model.
The Committee contends that all government initiatives to improve
freight arrangements should aim to deliver perishable goods on a weekly basis
where possible. In addition a data logger, as mentioned earlier, could be used
to identify any dysfunction in the cold chain during delivery.
Information on options, lessons learnt and best practice in supply of
fresh food to remote Indigenous communities could be disseminated widely via
the national remote Indigenous food supply chain coordination office. This
could include options for investigating a cross-subsidisation model on healthy
food for interested communities. However, the Committee strongly recommends
that any cross-subsidisation model that is implemented requires an open and
transparent policy arrangement. This is important so that communities
participating in such a model are aware of the cross-subsidisation arrangements
taking place with other communities.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government
establish a national remote Indigenous food supply chain coordination office
individual communities or regional groupings of communities to develop supply
models by examining the possibilities appropriate to them,
the establishment of cooperative arrangements including transparent
cross-subsidisation models, if appropriate,
to develop supply models that deliver healthy perishables to remote
communities weekly where possible, and
information on options for supply models to remote Indigenous communities.
The supply of free fruit and vegetables to remote communities, such as
through schools, should be considered as part of supply network. For instance,
FoodBank Western Australia, which has a large food warehouse and distribution
network across the state of Western Australia, could possibly partner with
government and communities to coordinate the supply of gifted healthy produce.
FoodBank Western Australia sees itself as being underutilised by governments
The Committee suggests that the remote Indigenous food supply chain
coordination office investigate the merits of working with charitable delivery
organisations, such as FoodBank Western Australia, to aid in the supply of fruit
and vegetables to remote Indigenous communities.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government,
through the proposed national remote Indigenous food supply chain
coordination office, investigate working with charitable delivery
organisations, such as FoodBank Western Australia, to aid in the delivery of
fresh fruit and vegetables to remote Indigenous communities.
The criticality of store infrastructure and maintaining the cold chain
continues in the store. Once food has been delivered to the store, its shelf
life depends on the store having:
n prompt off loading
and packaging for shelves,
n appropriate chill
display and storage areas,
n reliable electricity
n timely access to
The Committee found that many remote community stores lack the storage
capacity to store large amounts of foods, especially perishables.
In most cases, chiller areas are required to store perishables for at least seven
to ten days until delivery by the freight provider. Storage was a problem in
Jilkminggan where there was insufficient space to store larger quantities of
produce. Communities which have
prolonged inaccessibility due to weather conditions require greater storage
The Committee also heard that stores run out of fresh produce soon after
delivery because there is a rush on purchasing fresh food. For example, fresh
foods are in short supply after barge day in the Torres Strait Islands.
Stores also reported increased sales when people have money to spend on days
when income was paid.
If infrastructure breaks down in a remote store, it can take a
significant amount of time to fix. The Committee notes that maintaining
equipment in remote locations is a challenge and costs are high.
In its submission, IBIS commented on the time taken and the costs
associated with maintaining store infrastructure, particularly in maritime
environments which are not conducive to longevity of equipment.
The Committee notes, however, that IBIS currently invests all its
profits into infrastructure in its stores across the Torres Strait and Cape
ALPA also contributes significant amount of profits back into the
infrastructure of the store and the Committee observed new fridges and other
equipment in the stores in Warruwi (Goulburn Island) and Milingimbi. ALPA’s
ALPA spends on average $1,500,000 to $2,000,000 each year on
maintenance, new equipment, refrigeration, takeaway upgrades, store renovations
& extensions on its 5 member stores. In fact this is the largest allocation
of operational surpluses year on year. We believe we must offer our customers
the best possible retail service we can and that by doing this it is a positive
way to meet our mission, support our members and create real jobs.
The Community Stores Licensing Section of FaHCSIA contributed some
funding to infrastructure in stores in the Northern Territory in the 2008-09
financial year. ‘That, of course, cannot create their commercial viability or
solve it, but we have helped with infrastructure.’
If perishable produce arrives in good condition to a remote community
store, the store must have appropriate storage facilities to maintain quality
The Committee believes remote stores should have access to advice about
store infrastructure including accepting delivery of products, unloading and
repacking, and acquiring and maintaining chill display and storage areas. All
stores should maintain appropriate infrastructure for chill display and storage
and the Committee recognises that this carries high costs.
Accordingly, the Committee supports the establishment of a remote Indigenous
community fresh food supply fund to support the provision and maintenance of store
and storage infrastructure.
Communities or regional groupings of communities would apply for grants
to support aspects of their supply model. Grants could be provided for a range
of necessities in the healthy food supply chain, from transport to
infrastructure in the store.
The Committee notes, however, that it must be demonstrated that stores
making profits are adequately investing in store infrastructure. This has been
one of the reasons ALPA has been a successful, self-sustaining store model.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government
establish a remote community store infrastructure fund to assist stores to
invest in delivery, refrigeration and storage facilities that will support
the supply of fresh and healthy produce to Indigenous communities. Access to
the fund may be contingent on stores having a healthy food policy and
participating in a nutrition education program.
Supplementing nutrition with local supply
The Committee heard that stores have potential to market and supply fresh
local produce to supplement other fresh food supplies.
NATSINSAP supported initiatives to promote activities involved in increasing the
production and supply of vegetables, fruit and traditional foods by Indigenous
people in remote locations. It recommended the government facilitate
partnerships in the development and ongoing management of local food production
systems including the cultivation of traditional foods.
Some stores have associated businesses which supplement the supply of
fresh local produce as well as keeping prices down. For example, the Northern
Peninsula Area Regional Council (NPARC) owned Seisia store runs a beef farm
which is the source of the majority of its meat. ‘What we are telling people is
that we breed our own beef from hoof to plate.’
Also, the Jarlmadangah Burru Aboriginal Corporation in remote Western Australia
runs a cattle station so the meat they buy in is minimal.
There are a number of federal, state and territory government programs
which support Indigenous horticulture. However, the Department
of Health and Ageing have stepped back from investing in market gardens because
there was no evidence of long term systematic change in terms of public health
Some communities themselves are supporting training for the maintenance
of community gardens or farming as a means to supplement diet with adequate
vitamins. John Greatorex, who has
worked with people in north-east Arnhem Land for over 30 years, stated that it
is usual that the permanent homelands grow fresh fruits and vegetables.
In other communities there had been community farming and gardens in the
past, however they had discontinued due to many challenges associated with the
longevity of these community initiatives including:
impediments and quarantine, 
n lack of community
sense of ownership and succession planning,
n inadequate training
in technical skills of farming or horticulture, and governance and business,
n inadequate water
resources and infrastructure, and
n feral pests.
Allan Cooney, General Manager, Centrefarm Aboriginal Horticulture Ltd
(Centrefarm), stated that community farming initiatives can be successful
provided external assistance with succession planning, skills acquisition,
governance issues and product marketing networks are developed. Centrefarm
received $88 425 in funding from the Aboriginal Benefits Account to undertake
feasibility studies on potential market gardens in 15 Central Australian
communities. Centrefarm was in
discussions with Outback Stores to supply produce from the market gardens
through its network. 
The Committee has also heard of the positive influences garden projects
in schools can have in assisting communities with supply as well as introducing
children to the health and taste benefits of fresh produce. For example, the
EON Foundation, operating out of Broome, is helping schools set up gardens to
educate children about growing and distributing food and supplementing their
nutritious food intake.
In the Torres Strait the Horticulture in Schools Initiative provides
children with the ability and knowledge to grow their own healthy food
alternatives. The Torres Strait Regional Authority stated that through
educating children, it is hoped they will reach the greater community and
slowly build on the existing capacity in the community.
The Committee also notes the recommendation of the House of
Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing in its report on
obesity in Australia that the Federal Government continue to support community
garden projects such as the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program which
operates in schools.
Community gardens have the potential to benefit a remote community by
improving nutrition through greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The
practice of community gardening also has the potential to build relationships,
foster knowledge sharing and training, and promote self‑determination in
Due to damage to food during transit over large distances, food quality
in the store can be problematic. Therefore the Committee believes that the
local production of suitable food for the district should be supported in
remote communities. In some circumstances, particularly in coastal communities,
people already rely on bush tucker as a supplement to food supply and the
continuation of this practice should be encouraged.
There is also potential for small commercial industries to be developed
through the supply of fresh local produce, including bush tucker. The gardens
could be integrated as far as possible with the local school, health clinic,
council and store to enhance community ownership and achieve health and
The Committee notes that feral animals also destroy the natural habitat
and that this impacts on the availability of bush tucker and traditional foods.
Therefore the Committee recommends that feral pest eradication programs
continue to be funded where appropriate.
The Committee notes that community gardening and farming initiatives
work well in some, but not all, remote Indigenous communities. There are a
number of significant challenges, including availability of water, associated
with their sustainability. Nevertheless, local fresh food initiatives can
improve nutrition and support the local economy in remote communities.
Any government funding towards local food production should include
training in budgeting and planning as well as horticulture and farming to build
the capacity of the community members to manage the project in the longer term.
Community garden and bush tucker projects are considered useful investments in
remote Indigenous communities and the reformed CDEP provides employment and
capacity building options in these projects.
The Committee recommends the Australian Government ensure
health clinics in remote Indigenous communities are aware of the nutritional
value of bush tucker and other traditional foods and actively encourage
communities to continue to engage in traditional practices.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government support
community garden, traditional food and farming projects in remote Indigenous
communities for the local production of food, particularly in schools, where
it is demonstrated that long term sustainability can be attained.
The Committee believes that the full benefit of local gardening and
farming projects could be realised with collaborative arrangements with the
store for marketing and distribution. The Committee notes that Outback Stores
along with Centrefarm are investigating ways in which this can be done.
To assist with the sustainability of community gardens and traditional
hunting and gathering of food it is important the Government continues to fund
programs that will eradicate feral animals in order to protect native flora and
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government
continue to fund programs to eradicate feral animals in remote areas as required.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government
examine ways to facilitate remote Indigenous communities undertaking
collaborative arrangements with stores to distribute and /or sell locally
grown or harvested produce.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government
assist stores across Australia in remote Indigenous communities to develop
partnerships with local food production and harvest industries and expand
operations to also function as market places for community grown produce. The
Committee recommends that the Australian Government trial a partnership that
requires Outback Stores to support local food production and harvesting
industries and buy an annual minimum of goods from these local sources.
Ensuring the secure supply of quality produce to remote stores has
several facets. Supply chains must function effectively, there must be adequate
storage infrastructure on site, and efforts should be made to supplement
external deliveries with locally grown or harvested produce. While these
factors will improve the quality and quantity of fresh good available and also
increase the nutritional value of the local diet, in many instances cost
remains an inhibitor to better eating habits.
The following chapter considers the cost of living in remote areas,
possible cost efficiencies and affordability measures.