A not-for-profit store operator ensured remote northern communities stayed afloat with essential provisions during the recent wet season via air travel.
Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ) facilitated the supply of food to Cape York communities through airplanes used to transport essential freight.
The organisation usually delivers supplies to its supermarkets in the Indigenous communities of Kowanyama, Pormpuraaw, and Doomadgee by road through its truck network.
However, during the recent wet season, CEQ used planes to guarantee food supply to local residents.
During the past wet season from 1 November, 2021 to 31 March, 2022, CEQ:
CEQ chief executive officer Ian Copeland said the strategy was a win-win, with the use of airplanes to transport goods having zero effect on the price for customers in store.
"We see it as our job during the wet season to go the extra mile to ensure essential goods are supplied to the remote Cape York communities we serve," he said.
"Our warehouses were filled to capacity prior to the wet season arriving, and we delivered goods by truck as per normal until the wet weather stopped them getting through.
"Since then, we have been utilising planes in Kowanyama, Pormpuraaw and Doomadgee to get the necessary food supplies through to residents in these communities via air freight, at no extra cost at the cash register."
Mr Copeland said most stores had received at least one delivery per week, with up to four tonnes supplied in one delivery.
"Freezer, chiller, and perishable items are all handled to food safety standards, with stock temperature checked upon departure and arrival," he said.
"As needed, data loggers track the temperature of goods to ensure compliance and safety.
"Keeping our stores well stocked is particularly important during the wet season, as we're also often called upon to supply water and essential items in these areas as part of the state's disaster response efforts.
"These flights are necessary to ensure food security and the health of our communities."
CEQ is a not-for-profit organisation responsible for providing goods and essential services to the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), and mainland Aboriginal remote communities through its 28 stores.
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