Joint Media Release with Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey
Construction of a store for the community of Koonibba, west of Ceduna in South Australia, is almost complete, thanks to a $660,000 investment under the Coalition Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and the Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey, today visited Koonibba to inspect the store, with construction almost finished and the store expected to open soon.
“I congratulate the Koonibba community and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation (KCAC) for building a community store here,” Minister Scullion said.
“KCAC used a $135,000 investment from the Indigenous Entrepreneurs Fund to purchase commercial grade fridges, freezers, stove and an emergency generator.
“The IEF investment is on top of earlier funding of $500,000 from the Indigenous Advancement Strategy for the construction of the store.
“This investment will support an efficient and commercially-viable store which provides a greater range of healthy food options that will make a real difference for people’s health with the store putting in place strategies to target a reduction in sugary products and sell healthier options at a cheaper price.”
Mr Ramsey said the store would provide significant ongoing benefits to the community of Koonibba.
“I am especially pleased that two local Indigenous workers were employed during construction and the store will have all local staff, providing four local jobs,” Mr Ramsey said.
“Indigenous entrepreneurs have the potential to transform their communities but in some cases they just need a hand with the capital to turn their business idea into a reality, through this package we are giving Indigenous entrepreneurs a fair go”.
“The Koonibba store is a prime example of the Coalition backing Indigenous business in their own communities and creating opportunities for economic development.
“I was also very pleased to announce today a further $25,000 funding for landscaping around the store which will also provide work and experience for the local community.
“KCAC have developed a strong and effective business model for the store and have ongoing project management support to maintain its ongoing viability and sustainability,” Mr Ramsey said.
The Koonibba community has also taken out a Loan of $120,000 from Indigenous Business Australia and Mai Wiru Regional Stores Council Aboriginal Corporation is also providing support.
Minister Scullion said Mai Wiru, who run stores in the APY lands and central Australia, will manage the Koonibba store initially and build local capacity with a transfer of skills to KCAC.
“Not only has this IEF investment allowed KAC to purchase necessary plant and equipment to open their community store in Koonibba, the store will provide Community Development Programme (CDP) employment opportunities with four locals able to gain work experience and develop transferrable skills including two during construction.”
This initiative complements the Government’s broader Indigenous economic development agenda including our new Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) that has resulted in over 1000 Indigenous businesses winning over $1.084 billion in contracts in the first 2 ½ years of the IPP. A spectacular success compared to the former policies, which resulted in just 30 Indigenous businesses winning just $6.2 million worth of contracts in 2012-13.