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Galiwin'ku 'Foodcard' Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA)

Date: 17 May 2007
Sub Category:Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA)
State/Country:Northern Territory, Australia
  • Proposed contribution - The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA, previously FACSIA) for the development of Foodcard technology, a price verification system, purchase of fridges and employment of a new staff member and a consultant to coordinate the educational program. ($300,000)
  • Proposed contribution - The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA, previously FACSIA) for the Foodcard reference group to work with the ALPA in determining the process for the Foodcard's issue and in developing family budgets. (In-Kind)
  • Proposed contribution - The Arnhamland Progress Association (ALPA) to cover the cost of installation, operation, staff training, educational materials and commuication activities within the community. ($135,000)
  • Subject Matter:Economic Development | Education | Health and Community Services
    Summary Information:
    The Galiwin'ku 'Foodcard' Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) is an agreement between the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA, previously FACSIA), and the Arnhem Land Progress Association (ALPA) to provide for the facilitation and introduction of a food card system and education in successful budgeting for the Galiwin'ku community.

    Shared Responsibility Agreements are agreements between governments and indigenous communities to provide discretionary funding in return for community obligations. The new arrangements developed from an initiative of the Council of Australian Government and replace the previous ATSIC system of funding. For more information, please see 'Shared Responsibility Agreements' below.
    Detailed Information:

    This SRA provides for the introduction of Foodcard system and education in budgeting for the purchase of healthy foods with an aim to families having more control over their money, minimising individuals harassing family members for money and thereby minimising family violence.

    Shared Responsibilities

    FaHCSIA will contribute $250,000 in funding to the Arnhem Land Progress Association (ALPA) for the development of the Foodcard technology, production of an educational DVD, purchase of fridges and employment of ALPA staff, a coordination consultant and an independent consultant.

    The ALPA will develop software for the introduction of the Foodcard and cover its entire establishment costs, will develop educational resources and will work closely with the Galiwin'ku Money Business team to provide financial management support. They will also train staff to provide information, improve the availability of fresh food, conduct information days, encourage students to engage with the project, work with Marthakal Homelands to develop food pre-packs and work with the Homelands Health Service to encourage use of the service.

    Galiwin'ku Money Business will participate in the Foodcard Reference group, work with the ALPA to issue the Foodcard, help Foodcard participants develop budgets and help develop and implement the education program.

    Centrelink (through Centrepay) will provide support to Galiwin'ku Money Business, ALPA and local employers to assist with the uptake of Centrepay options with the Foodcard.

    Individuals and families will commit to continuing to use a proportion of their income on healthy foods, will work with Galiwin'ku Money Business to develop a family budget, will commit to sending their children to school and providing healthy lunches, will contribute to the development of an educational DVD and provide feedback on the operation of the Foodcard.

    Performance Indicators and Feedback Mechanisms

    Several target dates for key milestones have been outlined for the project.

    The Nhulunbuy ICC, the Strategic Intervention Site Manager, the Northern Territory State Officer and the ALPA will work together to prepare implementation and risk management plans. An assessment of the Foodcard trial will be conducted by an independent consultant to be funded by FaHCSIA.

    The Australian Heart Foundation awarded a National Highly Commended Certificate to the ALPA Foodcard program in 2008. It was declared a program that improved heart health in priority groups and the Heart Foundation reported that since the introduction of the Foodcard, 35% of the Galiwin’ku population is using the card, there had been a 10% increase in food purchases and a decrease in the purchase of cigarettes, soft drinks and confectionary.

    The world socialist web site suggested in April 2008 that schemes involving foodcards in Aboriginal communities have several failings. The cards are easily lost or stolen and have no tracing mechanism, and people living in remote communities have to travel long distances to access the retailers that accept the cards as payment. Further, there has been much complaint from small local retailers that the scheme has forced communities to buy from larger retailers, drastically affecting smaller businesses and forcing them to close.

    In February 2009, the ALPA published a submission that included an updated report on the success of the Foodcard program. The report notes that when the Federal Intervention was undertaken, the voluntary nature of the card was altered. The intervention ensured that the government was able to quarantine half of welfare recipients’ payments to buy food and other essential products.

    The Foodcard is now far more sophisticated than it was ever intended to be. It has identity photos embedded in the chip for cultural reasons (as a person’s photo cannot be displayed on the card) and for portability between communities. Family members may now also use the card on behalf of the primary cardholder. Studies show that the Foodcard is being used as a budgeting tool and that customers are spreading purchases across the pay cycle rather than spending the whole payment at once. It is also shown that sales in food and essentials have significantly improved, while sales of goods that aren’t part of the Foodcard program (tobacco, alcohol etc) have decreased. ALPA stores data shows that sales overall have not increased but that customer buying patterns have changed.

    However, the federal government’s introduction of the “basics card” is expected to erode some of the Foodcard’s progress.

    Related Entries

  • Commonwealth of Australia - Signatory
  • Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) (Cth) - Signatory
  • Nhulunbuy Indigenous Coordination Centre (ICC)
  • Galiwin'ku Community Council
  • Marthakal Homeland and Resource Centre Association
  • Arnhem Land Progress Association - Signatory
  • Centrelink
  • Northern Territory of Australia
  • World Smart Retail
  • People
  • Galiwin'ku Aboriginal Community - Signatory
  • Policy/Strategy
  • MoneyBusiness

  • Glossary

    Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) (Australia)

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