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Message from the CEO

Outback Stores Pty Ltd demonstrates its commitment to making a positive difference to the health, employment and economy of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by providing the highest quality retail stores in our market sector.

We maintain an unwavering commitment to supporting remote communities by guaranteeing access to, and improving affordability of food supply and delivering the best possible outcomes for the communities we serve.

Outback Stores Pty Ltd operated at loss of $784,000 for the 2019-20 financial year. As we operate on not-for-profit principles, our aim is to achieve financial break even.

We finished the year with forty remote community stores under management with total sales of $100.4 million, our strongest sales result since inception.

Certain stores we manage on behalf of communities are not financially viable.
This year we provided $930,000 of funds across 12 stores to ensure continuous access to a fresh, healthy and affordable food supply. A further $229,000 was invested on capital improvements across 13 stores.

Our focus is to work towards financial self-sustainability. Our goal is to achieve an independent self-funded Outback Stores that will support remote communities and deliver improved social outcomes without the need for any additional government subsidy in the future. The most meaningful measure of this objective is cash outflow (excluding loans). Outflows totalled $918,000 for the year with significant sales increases in the second half of the year contributing favourably towards the result.

The remote retail industry faced significant challenges in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic in the second half of the year. Whilst there is still more to unfold, I would like to acknowledge the collective effort from our team in ensuring communities remained safe, well informed and stores remained open, providing food security throughout a global pandemic. We have included a story detailing our work and the outcomes delivered for communities in this report.

This year we welcomed three new stores in the Northern Territory with the Alpirakina Store (Yuelamu) in the Central Desert region, the Nauiyu Store (Daly River) in the Victoria Daly region, and Wild Foods Café (Maningrida) in West Arnhem Land joining our business. We look forward to long and prosperous working relationships with these entities.

Our Executive and Senior Leadership Teams remained stable and without change over the past 12 months. In a unique and specialised industry, continuity and consistency of leadership is an important factor in delivering our key objectives.

Over the next 12 months we will remain focussed on supporting remote communities with a food security need as well as improving health, nutrition, employment and training outcomes.

A huge thank you to our store managers for your outstanding commitment and dedication. Thank you for continually stepping up to every challenge that has been presented, and showing amazing resilience through what can only be described as unprecedented times. The greater Outback Stores team genuinely appreciates the sacrifices you make to deliver the best stores possible for the communities we serve.

Thank you to Dr Sue Gordon and the Board for their ongoing support, as well as the Executive and Senior Leadership Teams and all staff for their consistent hard work and dedication to delivering results throughout difficult and challenging times. Finally, I would like to thank our clients and the store directors: it’s a privilege working with like-minded organisations to deliver the best possible-outcomes for local people through well governed and operated community stores.

Michael Borg