Janet Hunt

Janet Hunt is a Fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) at the Australian National University where she teaches Australian Indigenous Development and conducts research on governance and engagement, community development, the socio-economic benefits of Aboriginal involvement in natural resource management in NSW, and the work of international NGOs with Indigenous communities in Australia. She previously managed the Indigenous Community Governance Project 2004-2008, an ARC Linkage Project with Reconciliation Australia. She has been a member of the Central Land Council’s Community Development Reference group since 2007. Her background is in education and international development and she has lectured in International and Community Development at RMIT and Deakin Universities. She was Executive Director of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid, the peak body of international development NGOs, from 1995-2000 and prior to that was Executive Director of the International Women’s Development Agency. She has served on a number of Ministerial Advisory Committees.

Contested Governance »

Culture, power and institutions in Indigenous Australia

Edited by: Janet Hunt, Diane Smith, Stephanie Garling, Will Sanders
Publication date: October 2008
It is gradually being recognised by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians that getting contemporary Indigenous governance right is fundamental to improving Indigenous well-being and generating sustained socioeconomic development. This collection of papers examines the dilemmas and challenges involved in the Indigenous struggle for the development and recognition of systems of governance that they recognise as both legitimate and effective. The authors highlight the nature of the contestation and negotiation between Australian governments, their agents, and Indigenous groups over the appropriateness of different governance processes, values and practices, and over the application of related policy, institutional and funding frameworks within Indigenous affairs. The long-term, comparative study reported in this monograph has been national in coverage, and community and regional in focus. It has pulled together a multidisciplinary team to work with partner communities and organisations to investigate Indigenous governance arrangements–the processes, structures, scales, institutions, leadership, powers, capacities, and cultural foundations–across rural, remote and urban settings. This ethnographic case study research demonstrates that Indigenous and non-Indigenous governance systems are intercultural in respect to issues of power, authority, institutions and relationships. It documents the intended and unintended consequences–beneficial and negative–arising for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians from the realities of contested governance. The findings suggest that the facilitation of effective, legitimate governance should be a policy, funding and institutional imperative for all Australian governments. This research was conducted under an Australian Research Council Linkage Project, with Reconciliation Australia as Industry Partner.