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Not-for-profit remote store operator Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ) held an emotional grand opening of its new ABIS store in Wujal Wujal in Cape York Peninsula on Friday during a special Healing Day event in the community.  

Before the devasting floods which displaced the Wujal Wujal community in December 2023, CEQ was preparing to operate the previously Council-leased convenience store, which was limited in its product range and healthy options.

Now, after an ongoing collaborative effort between Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council, CEQ, and the local community, the brand-new store—Wujal Bayan Mayiji—is open for residents returning home following the community’s evacuation.

It officially joins CEQ’s 30-store network throughout the Cape, Torres Strait, lower Gulf of Carpentaria, and Palm Island, and the store will now benefit from the care of CEQ’s aggregate model that collectively keeps remote stores sustainable.

The Healing Day participants included the local Aboriginal community and others from throughout the Bloomfield River valley, Council staff, dignitaries, and service organisations, including those who have assisted the recovery.

Speeches were delivered by Education and Youth Justice Assistant Minister Corrine McMillan, Mayor Alister Gibson, and Wujal Wujal Elder Aunty Kathleen Walker, with the event facilitated by the Community Justice Group.

CEQ Board Chairperson Joann Schmider said CEQ is proud to contribute within the Wujal Wujal community as part of the Cape York township’s recovery journey.

“The opening of Wujal Bayan Mayiji marks a significant step in the ongoing recovery and healing process for Wujal Wujal, and marks a momentous occasion for the local community,” Ms Schmider said.

“It provides essential goods and services, supporting the community as they rebuild their lives. Our now publicly broadcasted commitment is to listen to the community’s feedback, and to be responsive.

“The opening of the ABIS store also celebrates the partnership between CEQ, Wujal Wujal Council and the traditional custodians of Country represented through Jabalbina Aboriginal Corporation as the registered Native Title body.”

Council Mayor Alister Gibson acknowledged the Australian and State Government departments, and CEQ, praising his community for their resilience while recalling the devastation and loss endured by families.

“This new store symbolises our strength and determination to rebuild and move forward together,” said Mayor Gibson.

“I’d like to thank the entire CEQ team for their dedication to serving our community and ensuring the delivery and service of food to our residents.”

CEQ Chief Executive Officer Michael Dykes said all stakeholders were very strong in their direction to support Council’s request for CEQ to operate the store.

“I’d like to acknowledge Council, community, Minister Leeanne Enoch MP (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships), the CEQ Board and the CEQ team for supporting and responding to the needs of the Wujal Wujal community,” he said.

“CEQ is not just a retail business. We’re a people business embedded into the community, and we’re here to listen, serve and invest in the community, including by supporting residents with enterprise development that brings local jobs.

“We’re all about community empowerment, employing locals, and encouraging and supporting First Nations businesses to thrive alongside us.”

Mr Dykes said Wujal Wujal residents will now have access to a reliable and consistent supply of fresh food.

“The CEQ ABIS store means accessibility and convenience for everyone, and we’d like to reassure the Wujal Wujal community that we’re here for the long haul,” he said.

“It’s a big step towards making sure everyone in the community is taken care of and is another example of CEQ delivering on our vision of caring, every day, always.”

Mr Dykes said three Wujal Wujal community members had already started working as part of the store team, with the CEQ training team supporting them to gain their retail qualifications.


Below Collage Features – ABIS Wujal Bayan Mayiji Official Opening attendees – 7th June 2024


CEQ is a not-for-profit organisation responsible for providing goods and essential services to the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), mainland Aboriginal remote communities, and Palm Island through its now 30 stores.

CEQ manages Islanders Board of Industry and Service (IBIS) and Aboriginal Business, Industry and Service (ABIS) stores, as well as other stores including Col Jones, Mona’s Bazaar and Mitre 10 on Thursday Island.

For more information on CEQ, visit