Up in Northwest Queensland, in a remote outback town called Normanton, big things are happening.
On Wednesday 27 September 2023, the Normanton community celebrated the official opening of Normanton Foodworks, supported by the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC), which contributed $2 million towards its total funding.
The 1000 m2 store provides essential amenities and is located on Normanton’s main street – a strip used by all traffic coming in and out of town.
This is a game changer for Normanton locals, nearby Lower Gulf communities and passing-by travellers, thanks to a partnership between the Gulf Regional Economic Aboriginal Holdings Limited (GREAT) and Bynoe Community Advancement Cooperative Society Ltd (BCACS).
The store boasts fresh fruit and vegetables, meats and dairy, as well as fuel at the BP Store next door – all at affordable prices.
This is a rarity for most remote supermarkets, whose prices are often so expensive, it forces residents to travel hundreds of kilometres seeking affordability.
The store is the largest of its kind within the region and provides a space for the community to come in for a yarn and take relief from the outback heat.
Indigenous employment has thrived within the community thanks to the supermarket. In fact, 80% of the total hours worked in the store have been performed by First Nations peoples.
Employees will be able to upskill their positions through training, including food handling, customer service and systems training, with the opportunity to complete a Certificate III in Retail.
Fred Pascoe, Chairman of GREAT, said the cost of living continues to be a serious problem in the Gulf, however, the team are looking at ways to optimise freight costs to help keep food prices down.
“We hope that with the supply of fresh food, that the community’s health and wellbeing will improve in the long-term,” said Mr Pascoe.
“Recent flooding and road closures have highlighted the need to improve food security in the Gulf – which has significantly improved as a result of the supermarket’s construction.”
With sales exceeding expectations, GREAT and BCACS remain committed to the Gulf and are in the process of designing a new in store bakery, to provide fresh bread and baked goods all year round.
Joe Morrison, ILSC Group Chief Executive Officer, said the Normanton Foodworks store not only supports the region’s economy, but helps raise the Indigenous economic contribution to the local economy.
“I congratulate the community on this admirable achievement,” said Mr Morrison.
“At the ILSC, the Indigenous community is at the heart of everything we do, and we strive to support First Nations people to realise their cultural, social, and economic benefits.
“This is a major milestone for Normanton and is a project the ILSC is proud to have been a part of.”
This milestone has been 10 years in the making – demonstrating the Normanton community’s perseverance and hard work.
The supermarket and BP Station are located at 59-63 Landsborough Street, Normanton, QLD 4890.