$6 million to improve nutrition and health in remote Aboriginal communities

The Liberal National Government is investing a further $6 million to expand the EON Foundation’s life-changing Thriving Communities program.


Thriving Communities is a program that supports remote Aboriginal communities to grow, prepare and cook their own fruit and vegetables, including bush tucker.


A further 12 remote communities in Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory (NT) will now benefit from this fantastic program.


The program is helping people change the way they think about food and make better food choices.


Thriving Communities builds edible gardens in schools and communities, runs healthy eating workshops, provides in-home nutrition services to adults and delivers horticulture training and education.


Children learn at school how they can grow fruit and vegetables and share this knowledge at home.


This encourages them to adopt healthy eating habits and encourage their families to do the same thing. 


Healthy eating is one of the most beneficial ways to avoid illness in later years.


Poor nutrition has a huge impact on the rates of infection and chronic disease in remote Aboriginal communities. Obesity also continues to be one of the leading causes of disability and premature death both in Aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities.


This further impacts general health, education and the ability to participate in the workforce.


The EON Foundation was founded in 2005 to help address the high rates of chronic disease caused by poor nutrition in a practical, community-led way.


Through Commonwealth funding and other funding sources, Thriving Communities is successfully established in 24 remote communities across the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of WA and three communities on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory.


This funding will bring the total number of communities under the program to 39, with the Commonwealth funding the program in 18 of the sites at a total investment of                  $7.9 million between 2016-17 and 2021-22.


The new funding will enable:

·         completion of program delivery in six Western Australian communities where the EON Thriving Communities Program already exists (Yakanarra, Yiyili, Marble Bar, Nullagine, Jarlmadangah and Jigalong);

·         the establishment and delivery the EON Thriving Communities Program in:

o   three remote mid-west Western Australian communities (Meekatharra, Mount Magnet and Yalgoo); and

o   nine remote communities in the Northern Territory (Ngukurr, Minyerri, Barunga, Wugularr (Beswick), Jilkminggan, Bulman, Pine Creek, Urapunga and Manyallaluk).


For more information about Thriving Communities visit www.eon.org.au


The EON Foundation’s Thriving Communities Program has four parts:


EON Edible Garden – A large vegetable, bush food and fruit garden is established at community schools, including supporting infrastructure such as reticulation, fencing and a shade house. EON works with Elders to grow bush food in the gardens, and to share the culture and history of bush plants with the children.


EON Healthy Eating – Is a comprehensive nutrition and cooking program for children and adults that increases knowledge about the importance of a healthy diet. The program becomes part of the weekly school timetable and EON project managers deliver fortnightly classes in nutrition, gardening, cooking and health. Adults participate in regular workshops.


EON Healthy Homes – Provides knowledge, equipment and tools to adults to maintain healthier home environments using small group workshops. This program is an extension of what is taught in Edible Garden and Healthy Eating workshops. School children are taught hygiene as part of their fortnightly classes.


EON Training and Education – Horticultural training is provided to community members to ensure sustainability and job creation. Whenever possible, EON employs and trains local community members (EON aims to employ at least one program assistant from each community) and works with the local job networks to ensure the EON Program creates jobs.