Remote communities can expect to see improved access to healthy and affordable foods with a new Chair appointed to Outback Stores.
Minister Scullion yesterday congratulated Dr Sue Gordon on her appointment, saying her vast experience in remote communities makes her the ideal person to take Outback Stores forward.
“Dr Gordon is an exceptional Australian, as the first Aboriginal person to head a Government department in Western Australia, the first Aboriginal magistrate in Western Australia and Chair of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Taskforce,” Minister Scullion said.
“We are very lucky to be able to bring that experience to Outback Stores.
“In particular, Dr Gordon is uniquely placed to lead the work of Outback Stores, given her experience through the Emergency Response Task force, through which many of the Commonwealth’s remote food initiatives began,” he said.
Sue Gordon will be taking over from outgoing Chair, Stephen Bradley.
Outback Stores is a Commonwealth company which was established in 2006, and provides management services to remote community stores.
Over the past year, remote NT communities have seen a rise in healthy eating with the reduction in the sales of sugary beverages and an extra 24 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables sold.
Outback Stores operates in Barunga, Beswick, Jilkminggan and Ngukurr in the Katherine region.
People living in remote communities rely heavily on what is available in the stores, since a main hub is often hundreds of kilometres away, which sometimes creates difficulties in making healthy food choices.
At the beginning of November, Outback Stores chief executive officer Michael Borg said the organisation was commitment to making healthier choices easier in remote community stores.
“We are seeing great results from communities where store directors are developing, implementing and leading healthy strategies with our support,” Mr Borg said.
“The key for Outback Stores is to continue providing education to the community on making healthy choices and empowering directors to make good decisions.”
The improved access to healthy options are expected to continue as Dr Gordon steps into her new role.
Dr Gordon is also a former magistrate who served 20 years on the bench of the Children’s Court of Western Australia.
She also chaired the Inquiry into Response by Government Agencies to Complaints of Family Violence and Child Abuse in Aboriginal Communities in Western Australia.
She received an Order of Australia award in 1993 in recognition of her work with Indigenous people and community affairs.
Minister Scullion congratulated outgoing Chair Mr Stephen Bradley.
“He passes the baton to Dr Gordon in a strong position that is well-placed to support improved health outcomes for remote residents.”
Outback Stores operates on not-for profit principles and aims make a positive difference in the health, employment and economy of remote Indigenous communities, by providing quality, sustainable retail stores.
The annual report states the cost of foods in remote stores is an ongoing issue with higher costs of supplying food in remote areas.
“Outback Stores continues working with communities and suppliers to ensure staple foods such as fruit, vegetables and meat are affordable,” the report said.
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