Island & Cape builds cross-cultural understanding

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Celebrating its 10th year of operation, Island & Cape Retail Enterprises is a dynamic retail company dedicated to the businesses, councils, schools and Indigenous communities in the remote areas of far North Queensland. Employing over 100 staff, of which more than 90 per cent are Indigenous, Island & Cape is an integral link in the supply chain of providing vital goods and services, including food and clothing to Indigenous communities across Far North Queensland. Island & Cape enables communities more than 1,000 kilometres away from major distribution centres to access the goods and services to sustain modern day life.

Island & Cape is dedicated to building cross-cultural understanding through employment and training initiatives, education, partnerships, and engagement with the communities it services. Several recent business initiatives demonstrate Island & Cape’s outstanding commitment to help improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across remote communities. A sample from the long list of initiatives includes weekly fruit and vegetable specials to increase healthy food sales; expansion of Indigenous traineeships and in-job training programs; company development of new high-fibre healthier bread; appointment of full-time nutritionist; sugar awareness displays; reduction in cost of bottled water; use of local Indigenous farmers and many more.

Through these initiatives, Island & Cape aims to continue to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through greater training and employment opportunities, healthier food supply options, and continued interaction led by a community-driven store model. “The significant rise in fresh fruit and vegetables sales was a great indicator of improving diet and nutrition in Torres Strait Islander people,” said John Smith, director of Island & Cape Retail Enterprises.

In 2014, Island & Cape announced a collaboration with Indigenous business Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation – one of the largest financially independent Indigenous employers in Australia, and one of the larger retailers in the Northern Territory. This agreement is about two businesses – and Indigenous people from two regions – working together in commercial enterprise to further benefit remote Indigenous communities across northern Australia. Recently, Island & Cape was recognised as an ABA100 Winner for Community Contribution in The Australian Business Awards 2014.