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A story waiting to be told: Darwin community victory against Woolworths 

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Mural of Aboriginal person on a wall in Darwin

Here is a powerful story for the ages! 

After a five-year-long battle, in April 2021 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, communities and health groups in the Northern Territory (NT) successfully stopped Woolworths from building an alcohol megastore in Darwin at the doorstep of dry Aboriginal communities. 

This was a huge community victory. 

And everyone MUST know this story. 

That’s why we want to help people in the NT tell the story in their own voice and be heard by the entire world. 

But what is the story? 

The decision not to build this alcohol megastore was a huge community victory after years of indifference and lack of empathy for community concerns from one of the nation’s biggest corporations. 

Woolworths pursued this store even though their applications were rejected. They did not take ‘No’ for an answer and continued pushing for this store in the face of community opposition and concern. They went ahead with the full knowledge that the NT already has the highest levels of alcohol harm in the country. 

At many instances during this long period of campaigning, the odds were against us, and victory seemed distant. But the communities never lost faith.  

We were honoured to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and work with NT health and community advocates, such as Aunty Helen Fejo-Frith from the Bagot community, Danila Dilba Health Service, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT), and the NT Council of Social Service (NTCOSS). 

People from all over the country helped amplify the campaign efforts at various stages. More than 155,000 people signed petitions and shared content on social media. They actively engaged in this campaign and made sure that Woolworths and Dan Murphy’s felt the public pressure and listened to what the communities had to say. 

Just like that – we won! 

Doesn’t this story give you goosebumps? 

Who doesn’t want to see passionate communities standing up to large alcohol companies… and winning? 

That’s why we want to create and share this story. 

We want to acknowledge the true might of people power. 

We want to show that no matter the circumstances, we can win if we come together as a community. 

We want to use the power of storytelling to move people and inspire similar movements. 

If we can inspire at least one community in Australia or the world to fight for what is right, it would have served its purpose. 

FARE wants to work with Garuwa, an Aboriginal-owned storytelling agency, to create a documentary trailer to showcase to others why this story needs to be told, and to raise funds to support the production costs. 

And for this, we need your help. 

Can you please donate to help us raise $5,000 to create a trailer with Garuwa? Click here to donate. 

In the meantime, watch this video created by Garuwa as the Bagot community express why it was so important to stop Woolworths from building the megastore. 

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