Red Centre Enterprises

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There are abundant native plants on Council lands – whilst economically valuable, the full value is not realised. We propose to create highly desirable native products from materials that are either discarded or sold for negligible value. We will use a collaboration of networks and knowledge that allows "sharing of story" and guarantees authentic supply while incorporating different social outcomes. We propose to work together with local Aboriginal people to gather the wealth of the land.

How the this idea will be delivered

Red Centre Enterprises is committed to develop and ethically commercialise the knowledge and resources of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities it represents via its highly experienced team and connections with leading first nation people. It is also firmly committed to combining the best practice and innovation with the rich 60,000+ years of knowledge and culture of the first Australians. We aim for no less than creating a new chapter in the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The approach is simple: win-win.

Red Centre Enterprises and its network representatives are working with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal landowners, operators and industry leaders with a shared vision of establishing sustainable agribusiness opportunities for communities. Before us are an abundance of incredible new opportunities to further this agenda: enriching personal and community economic activities, generating positive social, environmental and cultural outcomes. Our knowledge of native foods, of their functional attributes and of their intrinsic value allows us to see the valuable resources currently being wasted. Whilst the main focus of our business is through sourcing ingredients from Community lands, we can see the potential of the resources being wasted and more importantly the social benefits such as employment and social inclusion that can be derived from economic development of this resource. As an organisation representing Aboriginal communities, we provide authenticity and knowledge of traditional processing techniques together with access into existing markets.

The process will be initiated in collaboration with the City of Playford by reviewing their Asset Register to identify what native species area available on council lands that could potentially be harvested from. We have had initial discussions with the council and they are open to discussing our ideas. Our preliminary investigations have already identified a potential native food resource within the council area. This native food provides unusual aromas and flavours to foods and has long been used by Aboriginal people as a staple food source. As with many native foods, it contains functional compounds that can provide a health benefit to consumers – they are known to contain important minerals such as selenium, magnesium, zinc, calcium and iron. There is an established and growing market for this product.

Once all target species have been identified, an assessment will be undertaken through site visits to ascertain the volume of product that is available for harvesting and at what time periods. This information will be used to refine a harvesting approach including the number of people required and the types of equipment. In addition, an audit will be undertaken to map out the occupational health and safety needs to assure that Safework requirements are adhered to.

Following the planning stage, social media will be used to identify people interested in joining the program on an employment basis to create jobs for local people – preference will be given to Aboriginal people living within the City of Playford. A training event will be undertaken where four to six people will be trained on the types of native foods encountered in the local area. The training will focus on cultural harvesting and processing techniques that are based on sustainability and dreaming. Our experiences have shown us that the shared learning in a project of this type drives social inclusion and provides a real opportunity for people to take pride in their culture.

Harvest will be undertaken in a culturally appropriate way and in consultation with the City of Playford. The harvested foods will be processed from raw ingredients through to final value added products packaged under the Red Centre Enterprises logo to show authenticity.

The process above is focused purely on the City of Playford. However, what is described is a framework that can be picked up and replicated across multiple council areas or other land holdings and targeting a wide range of native foods. Indeed, it will be through this replication that longer-term employment will be realised creating improved social benefits and raising the profile of the valuable resources harvested from our clean and green environment. We feel that once a strong domestic market is developed, that entry into export markets will be an exciting proposition.

How this idea will create value

Red Centre Enterprises reinvests its share of profits back into the community stakeholders involved to assist with additional support and continuing value-chain growth, improving the standard of living, opportunity for further enterprise, education, health and the well-being of Communities as a whole. We will work with the City of Playford to establish a scholarship for indigenous people using a percentage of sales to feed wider benefit directly back into the Community.

Currently, a valuable resource is either left to rot on the ground or sold to mulch suppliers as low-value product. This is a truly massive economic resource that is literally being wasted. Our knowledge of native foods will allow this waste product to be taken and turned into a valuable commercial opportunity based upon our knowledge and the authenticity of our products. As mentioned above, we have already identified a significant resource that can be targeted in the first instance. To provide clarity of the opportunity, we estimate that there is approximately one tonne of product that could be harvested later this year within the City of Playford. Current value to council is approximately $200 per tonne. However, application of our value-adding process will result in an authentic, high quality, bioactive product that is conservatively estimated at $20,000. We already have an established market for this product that is hungry for supply. It is important to realise that this is a single resource in single council area – there is a wealth of opportunity.

How this will benefit South Australia

Whilst there are immediate benefits through economic development and social inclusion, the true benefits to South Australia are more long-term. This state is well recognised for the premium food products harvested from our scenic production areas. Some of our biota, such as abalone and lobster, are valuable resources that achieve price premiums in export markets due to their rarity and provenance. However, we also have a wealth of native plants that offer increased rarity and uniqueness coupled with active components that provide health benefits. Desire for these products is increasing both locally and internationally and it is expected that in longer-term that demand will be insatiable. In the future these products will assist to lift the profile of the South Australian food sector with a diverse and unique product offering that can be exported to the world.

Development of value added food products is only part of the opportunity provided by native foods. Their functional components are well known to provide health benefits – they have supported Aboriginal people for thousands of years. There is increasing awareness of the antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of these foods; however, scientific investigation has been limited to date. While opportunities exist to develop nutraceutical and cosmeceutical products, there is a need for R&D activities to underpin and validate the development of these products to showcase their intrinsic value. The presence of a burgeoning native food industry here in South Australia, backed by Aboriginal communities and knowledge, will help to foster increased R&D in this area.

South Australia would also benefit in an environmental sense from cultural management of some native species. For thousands of years, Aboriginal people have sustainably harvested from the local fauna creating an equilibrium state for many of these species. In the last 200 years, native harvest has all but disappeared and many of these plants are fast being considered as an “invasive pest”. Increasing native harvest will assist to manage the spread of some of these plants.


Organisation details

Submitted by Red Centre Enterprises Pty Ltd

About Red Centre Enterprises Pty Ltd

Commercialisation of value-added native plants products from underutilised native resources on council land assets to create social and economic value