The Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Ieramugadu Store Maya, a traditional owner organisation, has earned recognition as a finalist in the Sustainable Communities category at the Tiny Towns Sustainability State Awards. The Ieramugadu Store is a not-for-profit supermarket that is 100 per cent owned by indigenous traditional landowners. It plays a crucial role in providing food relief and security for the Roebourne community. The store offers essential food items such as bread, fresh produce and frozen goods to families and elders, ensuring their food security needs are met. In the span of a year, the store distributes about 25-30 tonnes of free food, with about 800 people shopping at the store each month. Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation chief executive Sean-Paul Stephens said the nomination was a commendable reflection of the elders and the community since the store’s concept was initiated by the traditional owners. He emphasised the ongoing cost-of-living challenges made such services even more vital, particularly in remote and regional areas. “In response to the current cost-of-living crisis, we have noticed an increased need for these types of services,” he said. “The number of people we serve has grown from approximately 400 to 800 per month, along with an increase in the volume of food required by families.” While celebrating the community’s ownership and utilisation of the store, Mr Stephens highlighted the underlying issue — the necessity for such a store in the first place. “We are in a community that is surrounded by economic prosperity, we have mining and other industries around us prospering but yet we have a community that has food community challenges,” he said. “That in itself is something that we want to work towards, the store is a brilliant model designed by the community but the long-term piece we are working on is advocating and working towards social and economic prosperity here so that the community doesn’t need a store.” In addition to this recognition, the City of Karratha is a double finalist in the Tidy Towns Sustainability State Awards. The city’s coastal rehab, tree management and dune restoration projects have been nominated for the Environmental Sustainability Award, and the 7 Mile Facility beautification project is a contender for the Waste Management Award.