Update: 26 November 2014 – Questions asked in Parliament about APY Lands Food Security Strategy
Following the release of the final report on the APY Lands Food Security Strategic Plan 2010 – 2016, a number of questions were asked in South Australia’s Parliament.
On 19 November 2014, the Hon. T.J. Stephens (the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) said that the final report “states that the annual report, which was a key component of the strategy, will cease and that the strategy has been cut short by two years because the government believes that the key priority areas have been addressed”. He then asked the following questions:
1. If not DCSI, who was the author of the report?
2. Given that the government admits that many objectives of the strategy have not yet been achieved, why has the government abandoned the strategy in the annual reporting?
3. What role will Matrix on Board play in APY food security and who will have oversight of food security issues in the 50 per cent of community stores not administered by Mai Wiru?
The questions and the response from the Hon Ian Hunter, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, can be read from Hansard here.
On the following day (20 November 2014), the Hon. T.J. Stephens again raised the issue of the APY Food Security Strategy during question time in Parliament: “I refer the minister to his answer yesterday, and I thank him for his comprehensive history of the strategy and good work of the Mai Wiru group. However, he failed to directly answer any of the questions put to him, and so I ask:
1. Who was the author of the report?
2. Why has the government abandoned the remaining objectives of the strategy in the annual reporting?
3. What role will Matrix on Board play in APY food security?
4. Who will have oversight of food security issues in the 50 per cent of community stores not administered by Mai Wiru?”
You can read Minister Hunter’s response here.
The Hon. T.J. Stephens asked a follow up question: “Minister, who were the key stakeholders you consulted when you decided to abandon the reporting process?”
You can read Minister Hunter’s response here.
Update: 18 November 2014 – No more reporting on the Food Security Strategy!
The report entitled, Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands Food Security Strategy for the period 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2014 was finally released on 18 November 2014.
The report does not indicate an author or the government department responsible for providing the report.
The report states that, “Although the APY Lands Food Security Strategy timeframe was initially established as 2011- 16, it is considered that the key priority areas have been addressed and structures set in place to sustain the progress that has been made. The community stores will be supported through an improved purchasing and freight model and the financial capacity of Anangu will continue to be strengthened by Matrix on Board for 2014-15.
There is acknowledgement that the broader objectives of the Strategy will continue to be
progressed within the core business of the respective areas of government. This report is
therefore the final report of the Strategy” (page 5).
It is alarming that a six year strategy has been cut short by two years and that no further reporting on progress will be provided. More so, when a number of key food security issues have still not been addressed. While it is appreciated that a range of different organisations such as Mai Wiru, the NPY Women’s Council and Matrix on Board are involved in supporting food security initiatives, this should not mean that reporting on the Food Security Strategy is no longer required. It would appear that the overarching responsibility for maintaining food security programs and accountability against the Strategy is being abrogated.
The report indicates that as from August 2013, the previous seven priority areas have been amalgamated into three target areas, “in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) three essential pillars of food security”:
- food availability – with sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis
- food accessibility – sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods
- food use – based on knowledge about good nutrition and attention being paid to adequate water and sanitation.
The report is structured around information and updates regarding these three areas.
In addition, the report also outlines other activities that impact on food security such as:
- supporting stores by purchasing items such as a combi oven for Pukatja, refrigeration at Amata, and new back-up generators for Iwantja (Indulkana), Amata, Kanpi and Kaltjiti (Fregon)
- road upgrades
- voluntary income management
- installation of fee-free automatic teller machines
- an emergency response following the destruction of the Kaltjiti (Fregon) community store by fire in December 2013.
Update: 21 August 2014
The Paper Tracker has since received a letter from the DCSI regarding the APY Lands Food Security Strategic Plan Annual Report, indicating that “the production of this report for 2013 is currently underway” and that the Paper Tracker will be provided with a copy as soon as it is available.
The Paper Tracker looks forward to receiving this report.
Following the launch of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands Food Security Strategic Plan 2011‐2016 on 3 December 2010, in order to improve food security on the APY Lands, a commitment was made to produce an annual report on the progress with this Strategy.
The first annual report was released in March 2012 and was followed by the second report in April 2013. These two reports were prepared by the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division of the South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet. As at 21 August 2014, no report appears to be available for this year.
On 6 June 2014, the Paper Tracker wrote to the Chief Executive of the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion, which now has responsibility for administering the APY Lands Food Security Strategic Plan, requesting an update regarding the release of the 2014 Annual Report regarding the Food Security Strategy.1 To date, no response has been received from the DCSI and it seems that the annual report – which is supposed to provide accountability indicators regarding the Food Security Strategy – is not yet available.
1. Rev Peter McDonald. Uniting Communities. 6 June 2014. Letter to Ms Joslene Mazel, Chief Executive, Department for Communities and Social Inclusion.