The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP
Minister for Indigenous Australians
Member for Hasluck
The Hon Mark Coulton MP
Member for Parkes
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
22 March 2022
SECURING ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES FOR WILCANNIA THANKS TO $500,000 FOOD SECURITY GRANT
Food security will be improved in Wilcannia thanks to a $500,000 Federal Government investment into the Wilcannia grocery store.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton today announced that REDI.E Enterprises has been awarded the funding under Round 1 of the Strengthening Remote Communities - Food Security Grants.
“I’m thrilled that REDI.E has been successful in securing this funding which will enable the organisation to purchase new equipment like fridges, freezers and cool rooms, as well as undertake an infrastructure upgrade, including the installation of solar panels and new air-conditioning, at the Wilcannia store,” Mr Coulton said.
“It means the people of Wilcannia will be able to more reliably buy what they want and have a better experience when doing so.
“This store provides an essential service to the Wilcannia community and this funding will help ensure it continues to make a real difference, delivering food and other goods at reasonable prices.”
REDI.E Enterprises took over ownership of the Wilcannia grocery store in January 2022, and is working with Outback Stores to provide healthier and cheaper groceries for the remote community, who will no longer have to travel the 400-kilometre round trip to Broken Hill to purchase fresh food.
REDI.E Enterprises General Manager Peter Gibbs said this funding will allow them to upgrade and modernise the old store to be “the best it can be”.
“This will allow us to do those dream jobs, turning this store into something the community can be proud of,” Mr Gibbs said.
“Given the community has been through tragedy after tragedy, this store will transform the community and give them something they deserve.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the community travel to Broken Hill on a regular basis to buy groceries, but now they can buy everything they need from this store. We’re already being told of the difference it’s made, with many families able to save $200 a week just on fuel.
“Thank you to Mr Coulton who advocated on our behalf to get this funding – it means so much.”
Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt MP, said a total of 43 stores across Australia are sharing in $8 million to improve their supply chains, storage and delivery of products in their communities.
“In the 2021-22 Budget we committed $5 million to invest in remote stores to improve food security and strengthen supply chains,” Minister Wyatt said.
“This grant round has gone beyond that Budget commitment, with $8 million directly supporting communities across Australia as they contend with the impacts of the pandemic and natural disasters.
"We saw the increased need for reliable food security in remote communities, listened and acted.
“The applications received in this grant round highlights the strong commitment by remote stores to improve their services and meet the needs of the community they serve.”
The Food Security Grant Opportunity was a competitive grant process in line with Recommendation 13 from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs Report on food pricing and food security in remote Indigenous communities.
Projects funded under the grant round include infrastructure upgrades, cool and dry storage expansion, green energy systems and training for staff and management.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (centre) pictured with REDI.E Programs Manager Michael Cooper and General Manager Peter Gibbs.
Minister Wyatt - Marie Hogg | 0431 299 518
Mr Coulton - Sophie Drysdale | 0491 135 852
Authorised by Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Member for Hasluck.
This initiative is funded/supported by the Australian Government.