The whole of the Northern Territory is now defined as a food security area, except for the major centres that are specifically excluded. The effect of the change – part of the Stronger Futures package – is that all stores that are an important source of food, drink or grocery items for an Aboriginal community, whether or not they are in or close to the community, will have to be licensed.
Said Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin: “Due to strong competition, higher levels of consumer awareness and the variety of food, drink and grocery outlets, the expanded stores licensing will not apply in the major centres of Darwin, Palmerston, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine and Nhulunbuy.
“Licensing focuses on all aspects of a store’s operation, including on the range and promotion of healthy food, the quality of retail management, governance and financial practices.
“Aboriginal people have told us that store licensing has improved the quality and availability of fresh, healthy food, and is having a positive impact on their communities,” Ms Macklin said.
The Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon said that a survey released last year showed Aboriginal people said that children are now healthier, happier and more active than three years ago.
Stores in the expanded area that need to hold a licence will be brought into the scheme over a period of time and will be contacted about the changes well before licensing assessments occur.
The new scheme will also provide for a wider range of penalties for licence breaches.
The Government is investing $40.9 million over ten years in the expanded stores licensing scheme.
Source: Australian Government media release.