The communities of Canteen Creek and Epenarra, south-east of Tennant Creek, have new community stores, thanks to a $4.3 million grant from the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA).
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, today congratulated both communities, the Canteen Creek Owairtilla Aboriginal Corporation and the Wetenngerr Aboriginal Corporation in Epenarra, for working with the contractor Probuild (NT) Pty Ltd to build the new stores, which replace outdated facilities. Both stores were officially opened today.
“Improving access to fresh fruit and vegetables and heathy food options is important to address many of the health issues in remote communities. These stores, along with better retail and pricing strategies, will mean more fruit, more vegetables and less sugary drinks will be on offer for local residents,” Minister Scullion said.
The new stores are purpose-designed buildings that have new storerooms and back-loading chillers and freezers. The stores also have kitchens and improved retail areas with new display shelving. The improvements to these facilities will allow the stores to stock a wider range of food and other supplies.
A new store manager house was also built in Canteen Creek and an existing house refurbished in Epenarra. The new store manager housing will assist the store businesses to retain store managers and attract qualified store managers to the communities.
A total of 20 Indigenous workers were employed in the construction of the new stores. This included 12 local Indigenous workers, six Indigenous sub-contractors and two Probuild (NT) employees.
Minister Scullion said it was great to see that a local artist was engaged to paint the logo on the front wall of the new store in Canteen Creek.
“It is also particularly pleasing to see that 10 additional local staff from the communities have gained employment because of the construction of the new stores,” Minister Scullion said.
ABA Advisory Committee Chair, Patricia Brahim, said the new stores were a good example of the benefits the ABA could deliver to people living in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.
“I am pleased to have been able to work with Minister Scullion to provide employment opportunities, increase the availability of fresh food and keep costs low in Canteen Creek and Epenarra,” Ms Brahim said.