Fresh fruit and vegetable donations to remote communities
Indigenous communities at Punmu and Parnngurr regularly welcomed the delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables as the beneficiaries of a project to give disadvantaged community members access to fresh food. Newcrest Mining’s Telfer Community Relations Superintendent, Mr Leon van Erp, said the initiative had been operating successfully for almost two years and made a significant difference to people living in the region. “One of the purposes of this project is to help create greater trust and understanding between community groups and business organisations, so we have cooperated with them in finding out what would really help their communities,” Mr van Erp said. “We are also keen to assist the community members to be healthier, and the provision of fresh fruit and vegetables is one way of assisting that goal.”
Punmu Community Coordinator John Reudavey said the community members appreciated the support from Newcrest, particularly because it was difficult to access such produce. “Everyone enjoys fruit and veggie day, when the produce is sold at an affordable price in the community shop to the community members,” said Mr Reudavey. Robin Paech, Chief Executive Officer at Parnngurr (Cottoncreek), said the community was looking forward to the fruit and vegetable provision to resume. The road to Cottoncreek – a four-hour slow drive from Telfer – had not been easily accessible since the wet season began in December.
“The fresh fruit and vegetable donation project has always been a good example of how a large business can work in cooperation with local communities. Once we know the road can be driven on safely, I’ll be heading to Newcrest’s site at Telfer to load up the first delivery for this year for Cottoncreek,” said Mr Paech. According to the Australian Government’s Go for 2 fruit and 5 veg campaign, most Australians eat about half the amount of fruit and vegetables recommended for good health. Adults are advised to eat at least two serves of fruit and vegetables each day. The amount of fruit and vegetables children need depends on their age.
The seasonal produce delivered to the remote communities is grown throughout WA. Current deliveries include Carnarvon bananas and mangoes, plus apples, stone fruit, citrus fruits, and an assortment of vegetables from regional growers. “By helping community groups access fresh food, their ability to enjoy healthier lives and well-being hopefully improves,” Mr van Erp said. This project, funded by Newcrest Mining’s Telfer operations, reflects the research findings in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan 2000-2010, which indicated that an inadequate diet was central to the poor health and disproportionate burden of chronic disease experienced by Indigenous Australians.