Frequently Asked Questions

What is ALPA?
ALPA is The Arnhemland Progress Aboriginal Corporation, established in 1972. ALPA is an Aboriginal-owned benevolent organisation which provides benefits to its members from the successful operation of community retail stores.

WIs ALPA a religious organisation?
No. Originally ALPA was set up by the Uniting Church, who assisted with accounting and administrative services until 1982. Since then ALPA has been responsible for its own operations and development.

Why aren’t there more yolŋu managers?
In the past ALPA has had Indigenous managers. Although ALPA can teach the required skills, we are not able to provide the necessary cultural authority. This, coupled with cultural and family obligations creates enormous pressure for our Indigenous managers making it difficult for them to choose store management as a career. The ALPA board has decided that until these cultural barriers can be overcome, ALPA would continue to seek managers from outside its cultural base when necessary. ALPA is committed to an evolving Indigenous management program.

Where Does The Money Go?
ALPA is accountable, and is audited annually. All details of income and expenditure are available in the Annual Report. Income generated is spent maintaining and improving store infrastructure, to better serve our members. ALPA income is also used to fund benevolent programs, support community events and provide employment and training opportunities.

It must be remembered ALPA is not a funding body, but a benevolent institution.

Where Is Arnhemland?
The Arnhemland region extends from Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria in the east, to Kakadu in the west.

What Languages Do Yolŋu Speak?
In Arnhemland the main languages are Djambarrpuyngu and Gupapuyngu, however there are several other languages and dialects spoken. English is a second language for almost all Indigenous residents of Arnhemland.

Is ALPA government funded?
No. ALPA is financially independent, and is not reliant on external funding or subsidies. This allows the Association to determine its own direction and development.

Why Is Senior Management Predominantly Balanda?
In 2003 the Chairman answered the question this way:
‘We employ Balanda management because we need their skills and experience. They work for us. They answer to us. They share our commitment and our vision for a successful Yolŋu enterprise. We don’t see this as a ‘Yolŋu and Balanda’ issue. Balanda are part of the ALPA family.’ALPA has a proactive policy of employing Yolŋu staff, but in the main, Yolŋu do not want to live and work in Darwin.

Is ALPA Really An Aboriginal Organisation?
Is It Really Run By Aboriginal People? Yes. Our members are the Indigenous people of Arnhemland, and our Board of Directors and Chairman are Indigenous representatives of our member communities. Control of ALPA rests with the Board of Directors. All decisions of ALPA corporate goals, direction and policy in addition including a financial nature are made and approved by the Board. The General Manager is responsible for the day to day operations of ALPA’s activities. He reports directly to, and takes instruction from, the Board.

Who Are The Yolŋu?
The Yolŋu are the Indigenous people of North-East Arnhemland.

What Is The ALPA Logo?
Our logo was inspired by the appearance of Halley’s Comet in 1986.

The comet symbol has become ALPA’s. The colours are symbolic of the comet and our people. The black is the nucleus, the spirit of our people. The red is the fire, our life force, and the yellow is the light we must show for the future generations.

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