Legislative Council: Wednesday, September 28, 2022


APY Lands

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (15:42): My question is to the minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister update the council on the government's support for a new—sorry I've got the wrong one. I've done that one. He gave such a good answer. Will the minister update the council on investments the government is making in the APY lands?

The PRESIDENT: I call the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to answer either question.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:43): I thank the honourable member for his very important question and for remembering who he is today in asking that unexpected question. As a government we were pleased to be able to allocate funding for a range of initiatives on the APY lands but also on the Maralinga Tjarutja lands, projects that will make a meaningful difference to some of the communities on the APY and Maralinga Tjarutja lands.

One of the investments we are making is to provide urgently needed upgrades to fridges and freezers for fruit and vegetables at the Mai Wiru regional store in Pukatja. Stores in regional and remote Aboriginal communities are very important and very often the only source of groceries and other goods, and that is what makes upgrades critically important to such stores. Similarly, we are investing $175,000 to renovate and extend the Oak Valley store on the Maralinga Tjarutja lands. This will make a real difference in what is quite a small store in Oak Valley, improving the services it can provide to the community.

I have been to Oak Valley a number of times, and at different times of the year when there are different events—and particularly cultural occurrences—happening, there can be influxes of hundreds of visitors to remote communities like Oak Valley. The capacity of a smaller store like that in Oak Valley is under tremendous pressure and often all goods sell out in a very short amount of time, so the funding to extend and modernise the stores both in Pukatja and in Oak Valley will have a significant benefit to those communities.