Communities and Councils across Tasmania are taking control of their local economies using community wealth building. And so can you!
Ethical Fields is on tour, bringing community wealth building to communities and government across Australia. Community wealth building is a local economic and community development approach that changes the way our local economies function to place ownership, control and benefits into the hands of local people, and to ensure the economy genuinely works for all and the environment.
In September/October 2022, we visited Tasmania to learn about local community wealth building initiatives underway and to build capability and capacity to apply community wealth building in local places across the State.
Penguin Community Enterprise and Asset Building
A great example of community wealth building driven from the community level comes from Penguin, a town on the north-west coast of Tasmania, Australia.
The St Vincent de Paul Society had been closing its non-viable stores and consolidating its operations in bigger outlets, such as the “superstore” op shop outlet in Devonport. A decision was made to close the Penguin store.
In response a group of dedicated local volunteers saw an opportunity to establish a locally led and owned opshop and the Penguin Community Opshop project was formed.
Local anchor organisations and businesses provided donations and support. The enterprise received a COVID-recovery grant from the Central Caost Counil and local businesses offered equipment, materials and stock. The Penguin District School driven by sustainability and social learning goals for the students, helped the group to negotiate a new lease, prepare legal and insurance documents and provided seed funding to the opshop could start trading.
Within just six months of opening. The Penguin Community Opshop was able to repay the initial start-up investment from the school and make a profit. Going forward, profits will be reinvested back into the local community with local people invited to leave suggested about how the shop should best allocate funds to local projects and invest in the economic systems of Penguin.
Penguin now has a thriving, locally led and run operation that helps residents in need, is anchored to place, contributes to sustainability, supports the town’s economy and reinvests in local economic and community development.
If you’re interested in community wealth building and would like the Ethical Fields team to visit your region as part of our Community Wealth Building Australia Tour please get in touch at [email protected].