The Palm Island Community Store – self determination and economic development or more government bullshit?


Palm Island background from

Palm Island background from Senator Andrew Bartlett

 The Palm Island store is currently owned by the Queensland Government.  It charges inflated prices to subsidise the transport of goods to other Aboriginal communities in Queensland.    The government has recently announced that the store is to be privatised, and there are two competitors for the tender.  One is  the Palm Island Community Store Aboriginal Corporation (PICSAC) and the other is a gaggle of bureacrats and mainly non-Palm Islanders supported by the state government.

Please sign the open letter to the Qld. government in the following link to show your support for the Palm Island Community Store Aboriginal Corporation’s bid to manage the Palm Island store.

Please  distribute the link through your networks.


If you would like to further support the PICSAC bid for the store send your details to…….


*email disguised to avoid spam.    Please  replace (at) with @ and (dot) with .  as per normal email address format

Please include….

mail and email address for newsletters
details of any organisation you represent


from the PICSAC 




ABN 95 384 533 636

C/-Cecilia Sibley, Farm Road Palm Island

July 2007

The Palm Island Community Store Aboriginal Corporation (PICSAC) was incorporated in February 2007, as a result of a public meeting held on Palm Island in December 2006.

The Queensland Government has announced plans to privatise the store, and has designed a tender process.

Anyone wishing to take part in the tender process will need to comply with the tender requirements and have in place a developed business plan setting out how the store will be managed and run, how it will be financed and how it will benefit the community.

We submitted an application to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations for funding to prepare a business plan. That application was approved and the business plan is now being prepared.

Ian James is working with Lex Wotton and the corporation committee to prepare the business plan so that when tenders are called the corporation can bid to own and control the store on behalf of ALL PALM ISLANDERS.

There is no definite date set at present for privatisation, but is expected in the near future.

To tender successfully, the bidder will have to show how it can run and finance the store, that it represents the majority of the Palm Island community and that it has in place the expertise to ensure sound governance.

Outback Stores Pty Ltd is a professional store management operator, set up by Indigenous Business Australia to assist communities to operate stores. Outback Stores has the knowledge, skill, money and the buying capacity to operate the store efficiently and according to the wishes and needs of the community. Outback Stores is able to operate the store for a community group, provided it is operated for the benefit of the whole community.

Outback Stores has visited the community twice to explain how it can partner a community group and operate the store.

The objective of the PICSAC is to provide a vehicle to represent all Palm Islanders in bidding for the store tender. To achieve this, the corporation needs to widely hear the views of Palm Islanders, and to develop agreement about the objectives of the store.

PICSAC believes that a democratically elected governing committee, comprising a majority of residents of Palm Island, should direct Outback Stores and determine the use of store profits.

It is expected that at the time of privatisation, the government will provide funds for some major spending on the store building and facilities.

This Project is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Indigenous Small Business Fund, which is administered by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.






  • The government has announced it will privatise the store, and that the ownership and control of the store will be returned to the community.

  • The Department of Communities has formed a corporation called Palm Island Community Company Pty Ltd which it intends will take over ownership and control of the store.

  • The Government Corporation is a Government Business Enterprise which will charge for its fee-based services, and directors’ fees and distribute any profits remaining according to the wishes of its directors.

  • Its directors will be made up of 2 from the Federal Government, 2 from the Queensland Government, 2 from Local Government, 1 Traditional Owner, 1 Community representative, with an independent chairperson.

  • In this model, 1 community member is elected and 3 are appointed, with 5 outsiders appointed
    Although the plans for this corporation have been made public, there is almost no awareness of its existence in the Palm Island community.



  • Palm Island Community Store Aboriginal Corporation (PICSAC) has been formed to create a community vehicle to own and operate the store.

  • We can engage a professional management company, Outback Stores Pty Ltd, which can bring enormous buying power, & working capital. OS charges a fee of 4% of turnover, to operate the store using local staff, and the profits would be retained within the Palm Island community.

  • Outback Stores operates by direction from a management committee representing the community organisation.

  • The profits can be returned in full to the community with none spent on a Government Business Enterprise.

  • The use of profits should be determined by a democratically elected committee made up of a majority of Palm Islanders, for the benefit of the whole community.

  • Plans are advanced and unless the community acts now, the store will pass from one government department to another government vehicle, and be lost to the community forever. The tendering process is ‘on hold’ at present but planned for September 2007.

  • In a comparable PICSAC model, 5 community members are elected, with a maximum of 4 outsiders being appointed.


The government has been promising to hand the store to the community for more than 20 years.

PICSAC is a vehicle for all to join, to enable one tender on behalf of the whole community.

We want to ensure the community can bid to own and operate the store on behalf of the whole community-with no profits to be spent on another government body.

We are presently speaking to as many people as we can to inform all people & obtain support on Palm Island.







Filed under Palm Island

2 responses to “The Palm Island Community Store – self determination and economic development or more government bullshit?

  1. freshfish

    Hmm, the government’s tender does appear to be a handover without anything actually resembling a handover.

    I love the use of the word “tradional owner” in this context. Code for, “we pick ourselves a pliant uncle tom”?

  2. freshfish,

    Traditional owners usually are not uncle toms and I dont think that is the case here. The problem is legitimate TOs are manipulated and put into token positions with no capacity, to simply legitimise the committee they have been put on. Often TOs join this sort of thing in the naive hope they may be able to make a difference but are just put in a corner and told to smile when a smile is required and not listened to.

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