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Joining forces to support a social supermarket in Roebourne

A new, not-for-profit supermarket in Roebourne is helping locals to reduce their grocery bills as cost of living expenses continue to increase across the country.

Image (from left to right): MinRes Community Engagement Officer – Pilbara, Jodie Stuart; MinRes Executive General Manager – Project Development, Joshua Thurlow; Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation – Chief Executive Officer, Michael Woodley and MinRes General Manager – Communities and Heritage, Heath Nelson.

Mineral Resources (MinRes) is proud to have contributed $160,000 to support Garlbagu, the social enterprise arm of the Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Limited, to operate a social supermarket – Ieramugadu Store Maya in the remote Pilbara town.

The supermarket is stocked with groceries and other household items that are sourced from partner suppliers at low or no cost and provided to local customers at a reduced cost. This is helping to ensure the local community has access to affordable and healthy food, particularly those that may be struggling with cost of living expenses.

In regional areas like Roebourne, which is more than 1,500 kilometres from Perth, high freight costs and the vast distance from the nearest agriculture centre means that customers can pay up to 120 percent more than city dwellers for basic food items.

MinRes General Manager – Communities and Heritage, Heath Nelson, said the company is committed to supporting programs that create positive health and wellbeing outcomes in the local communities in which it operates.

“We’re proud to be backing Garlbagu to provide this vital service – it’s already making a big difference to locals who are now able to purchase quality foods at affordable prices,” Heath said.

It’s understood that Ieramugadu Store Maya is the first social supermarket in Australia and MinRes is proud to be working in partnership with industry and government to support this innovative idea.

Ieramugadu Store Maya

Image: Ieramugadu Store Maya.

Garlbagu Director, Kevin Guinness said access to healthy food is a basic human right, not a privilege.

“It’s really important that our community has a supermarket that provides good, fresh food at an affordable price,” Kevin said.

“We have been trying to find a way to help and support people that are struggling and need a hand up, and we are really proud of what we have achieved.”

Garlbagu CEO, Bruce Jorgensen said the road from inception to the opening of the supermarket has been a long but incredibly worthwhile journey.

“We very grateful to Mineral Resources for their fantastic and timely support,” Bruce said.

“The support of Mineral Resource was instrumental in assisting us to distribute over 400 care packages to local families that were isolating during a massive COVID outbreak in Roebourne, along with supporting the distribution of over nine tonnes of donated food through the supermarket.”

MinRes is committed to building partnerships with organisations that are delivering positive benefits to the communities in which we operate. We are focussed on programs and initiatives that improve health and wellbeing, employment and education outcomes in local communities.