Outback Stores help grow jobs and health in Ngukurr

The tantalising smell of hot roast chickens just out of the oven and freshly baked bread now waft through the Ngukurr General Store in south east Arnhem Land.

Inside the store it is like any modern supermarket in a capital city – delicious looking fresh fruit and vegetables are on show, local team members are busy serving customers and filling shelves, the store is buzzing.

The heartbeat and economic backbone of the remote community of Ngukurr, 630 kilometres from Darwin, the Ngukurr General Store was recently upgraded with new bakery and hot roast chicken cooking facilities to increase its fresh, healthy food offerings.

As part of recent upgrades and a focus on making healthier options easier, the store’s layout has been changed to showcase the fresh fruit and vegetables, and new bakery and hot food items. The strategy is already working for the community, with the upgrades resulting in over one tonne of fruit and vegetables being sold each week – a 22 per cent increase in fruit and vegetable sales since the same time last year.

The Yugul Mangi Development Aboriginal Corporation owns the General store and in 2008 it enlisted the support of remote retail specialists Outback Stores to help improve health, nutrition, training and employment outcomes for local people, while operating the business as efficiently as possible.

“Yugul Mangi is very proud of our partnership with Outback Stores,” Yugul Mangi Chairperson Bobby Nunggumajbarr said. “By working closely together and listening, we have formed a very strong relationship that delivers for the community. We have a great store that is stocked with fresh, healthy and affordable tucker that employs local people.

“We have seven different clan groups in Ngukurr, all are very proud of what we have been able to achieve together with Outback Stores.”

The corporation is committed to reinvesting profits back into the community on sustainable business enterprises for the community’s benefit. It currently employs close to 100 local people across its enterprises including; construction, civil works, Yugul cattle station, hospitality, the stronger communities for children program and retail. In 2018 over $1 million in wages went back into the community.

“Our focus is to provide everyone the opportunity to have a job and a house in the community with our long term goal to end generational welfare,” Yugul Mangi Business Manager Martin Schahinger said.

“For us it is all about local people being trained and employed to work locally. With such a strong and dedicated group of directors I am confident together we will continue to make sound decisions for the future of the community.”

Outback Stores CEO Michael Borg agreed “Over the last 10 years we have built a strong relationship built on trust and honesty, something that is very important. Reinvesting profits back into sustainable business enterprise for the community is great approach and one we support.

Outback Stores is committed to assisting the community with achieving their goals and looks forward to embarking on the next stage of our journey together.”