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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 7122


Mr SNOWDON (LingiariMinister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Minister for Indigenous Health and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Centenary of ANZAC) (17:52): I am not responsible for local members, including the Prime Minister. She is able to make her own decisions. But if those people want to talk to me I am more than happy to talk to them—if you want to pass on to them to come and see me, that is not a problem.

Secondly, you have identified a couple of issues with Mai Wiru, none of which are my responsibility, which is a bit of an issue for us being to be able to respond to you in the way in which you require. I am very conscious of Mai Wiru circumstances, however. I was at Uluru a week ago, and I met with one of the staff members from Mai Wiru. We had a discussion about their current predicament. As a result of that discussion, we initiated some discussions with Minister Macklin's office. We are in discussion at the moment about the way forward.

I am very conscious of the role that Mai Wiru has played in the APY Lands. I am particularly conscious of the role that it had in educating people about food security, in particular about appropriate foods. You would be aware of Amata Store, where the store committee took a decision—which was I think probably not supported initially by the store manager—to remove all high-sugar content drinks off the shelf. That actually had the desired impact of taking quite a significant amount of sugar out of the diets of the local community. Of course you are well aware as the shadow minister and as a medical practitioner of the issues to do with diabetes in that community. That was a very worthwhile thing to do.

The Department of Health of Ageing had previously been responsible for providing some resources to Mai Wiru. Our final engagement with that process was, I think, the last financial year when FaHCSIA took over that responsibility. As I said, can I assure the member that there are discussions going on at the moment with FaHCSIA to decide on the way forward to make sure we can do something for Mai Wiru. How that will pan out I am not in a position to say at this very moment, but I am very keen to try and accommodate the concerns and issues that are involved with Mai Wiru. You have identified food security as an issue of great importance, which it is. Outback Stores provide a service in the Northern Territory, not in South Australia. There has been some talk about Mai Wiru transferring into Outback Stores. Mai Wiru have taken the decision that they do not want to do that. They want to remain independent and they have every right to do that. We need to have a discussion with them about the way forward and we will do that. So it is right on the radar.