For years, Anangu at community level have been demanding action on food accessibility (including affordability) and food availability (including range and quality) in local community stores. The need for a regional stores policy on the APY Lands was first identified in the 1987 report of Uwankara Palyanyku Kanyintjaku—An Environmental and Public Health Review. back to the Conference Program
Consequently, in 2002 the Mai Wiru (Good Food) Regional Stores Policy was developed under the auspices of Nganampa Health Council, and in conjunction with Ngaanyatjarrra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council, as a result of a directive from Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (the land holding body). The process to develop the Mai Wiru policy was driven by Anangu from its inception. Wide-ranging community input and representation has been achieved through a participatory planning process, and the 25-member steering committee. The steering committee is representative of every community of the APY Lands. Following the development of the policy, a strategic implementation plan was developed and implementation of the policy began in early 2006.
Mai Wiru was a first of its kind because it is a regional policy for remote Aboriginal community stores with a health focus and a potential for legislative enforcement under the powers of the local land holding body, APY. As the policy is a primary health intervention (to tackle the increasing prevalence of diet-related illness) the nutritional impact of the policy will be highlighted and discussed. This will include: the impact on product placement within the store and how this affects sales. This is particularly concerning when product placement is used to promote sales of nutritionally poor items; the successful introduction of fortified white bread and meat pies with the ‘Red Heart Tick’; anecdotal evidence that people will choose fresh healthy food if it is available; importance of providing comprehensive orientation for store managers to the guidelines of the policy to ensure compliancy; preferred supplier agreements with cash rebate systems to community stores and, finally, the importance of the store committee in each community.