Feature storyHealth

Improving food security in Areyonga

Areyonga is a small Northern Territory community located about 220km west of Alice Springs. It has a population of about 300, almost all of whom are Aboriginal.

The community now have access to a greater range of healthy and affordable food, thanks to new support from the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA).

The upgrades to the Areyonga Store and store manager’s house are the first to be completed under a $55.8 million investment through the ABA Stores Infrastructure Project. The project is a strategic partnership between the Australian Government and the Aboriginals Benefit Account Advisory Committee (ABAAC) and involves stores across the Northern Territory.

The upgraded store was officially opened at a recent ceremony held in Areyonga. The ceremony included a welcome address delivered by Charlie Chirup, Sandra Windy and Daphne Puntjina, and traditional dancing and singing performed by local school children and the Areyonga Community Choir.

The store was opened by ABAAC Chair, Mrs Pat Brahim, and Daniel Owen, who represented the Federal Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Mrs Brahim said the improvements to the Areyonga store will lead to real and lasting benefits for the community.

“Both the ABAAC and the Australian Government worked closely with local Aboriginal people and community groups to ensure this investment delivers ongoing benefits for Aboriginal people living in Areyonga,” she said.

Work to upgrade the Areyonga Store has resulted in a number of substantial improvements that will improve retail efficiency and food storage. These include an increase in the size of the retail area, new refrigerators and freezers, and a new storeroom and loading dock.

This will help to ensure the residents of Areyonga are able to buy a good range of fresh, reasonably priced food, which will contribute to Closing the Gap in Indigenous health outcomes.

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Making sure there is healthy food in remote community stores is an important part of closing the gap in Indigenous health outcomes.

Improvements to the Areyonga Store were made possible through the Aboriginals Benefit Account.