Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Melons and Pomegranates for Ali Curung

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon. Brendan O'Connor, Minister for Employment Participation

    The Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari. Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

Pomegranates and melons will be grown in the remote Indigenous community of Ali Curung in the Northern Territory, as part of a major horticulture project.

During a visit to Ti Tree today, Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor, announced a $4 million grant to the Ali Curung project, which will establish up to 100 hectares each of spring melons, autumn melons and pomegranates over the next 15 months, with the overall goal of developing 400 hectares within three years.

“This demonstrates the benefits of working with a local community to develop real employment opportunities,” Mr O’Connor said.

“More than 60 jobs will be created through the life of this project – six full-time jobs in the first year and up to 60 part-time jobs by the third year.”

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said the Aboriginal Benefits Account had provided $3.2 million to the Alekarenge Horticulture Pty Ltd to construct an artesian bore field.

This will enable the organisation to generate income by leasing essential infrastructure and charge water usage fees to AFM Central Australia Pty Ltd.

“This is a real achievement for the Ali Curung community. They have established a successful partnership with a private sector firm, AFM Central Australia, who will help them achieve their goal of establishing a successful horticulture business,” Ms Macklin said.

The Aboriginal Benefits Account receives money from the Commonwealth equivalent to royalties paid by mining interests on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory.

Federal Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, acknowledged Centrefarm’s long history of helping Aboriginal people to develop business opportunities on their own land.

“Over $900 000 has also been provided to Centrefarm Pty Ltd to expand their operations over the next three years, helping more communities and individuals achieve economic self-reliance through horticulture projects,” Mr Snowdon said.

“Centrefarm has played a pivotal role in bringing together the traditional owners of the Warrabri Land Trust and AFM Central Australia to create a project that will deliver income and employment opportunities and benefits for the local community of Ali Curung.”