Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR)

The CAEPR Research Monograph series focuses primarily on Australian Indigenous affairs. It publishes monographs and edited volumes that report on and analyse the results of primary research undertaken by CAEPR staff, visitors and associates, and the proceedings of CAEPR workshops and conferences. Established in 1991, the series provides a unique, multidisciplinary commentary on major themes and issues in the Indigenous policy landscape over time.

 

Please note: The following list of titles is sorted by publication date, with the most recent first.

Displaying results 1 to 21 of 21.

The Neoliberal State, Recognition and Indigenous Rights  »

New paternalism to new imaginings

Edited by: Deirdre Howard-Wagner, Maria Bargh, Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez
Publication date: July 2018
The impact of neoliberal governance on indigenous peoples in liberal settler states may be both enabling and constraining. This book is distinctive in drawing comparisons between three such states—Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In a series of empirically grounded, interpretive micro-studies, it draws out a shared policy coherence, but also exposes idiosyncrasies in the operational dynamics of neoliberal governance both within each state and between them. Read together as a collection, these studies broaden the debate about and the analysis of contemporary government policy. The individual studies reveal the forms of actually existing neoliberalism that are variegated by historical, geographical and legal contexts and complex state arrangements. At the same time, they present examples of a more nuanced agential, bottom-up indigenous governmentality. Focusing on intense and complex matters of social policy rather than on resource development and land rights, they demonstrate how indigenous actors engage in trying to govern various fields of activity by acting on the conduct and contexts of everyday neoliberal life, and also on the conduct of state and corporate actors.
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Teaching ‘Proper’ Drinking? »

Clubs and pubs in Indigenous Australia

Authored by: Maggie Brady
Publication date: December 2017
In Teaching ‘Proper’ Drinking?, the author brings together three fields of scholarship: socio-historical studies of alcohol, Australian Indigenous policy history and social enterprise studies. The case studies in the book offer the first detailed surveys of efforts to teach responsible drinking practices to Aboriginal people by installing canteens in remote communities, and of the purchase of public hotels by Indigenous groups in attempts both to control sales of alcohol and to create social enterprises by redistributing profits for the community good. Ethnographies of the hotels are examined through the analytical lens of the Swedish ‘Gothenburg’ system of municipal hotel ownership. The research reveals that the community governance of such social enterprises is not purely a matter of good administration or compliance with the relevant liquor legislation. Their administration is imbued with the additional challenges posed by political contestation, both within and beyond the communities concerned. ‘The idea that community or government ownership and management of a hotel or other drinking place would be a good way to control drinking and limit harm has been commonplace in many Anglophone and Nordic countries, but has been less recognised in Australia. Maggie Brady’s book brings together the hidden history of such ideas and initiatives in Australia … In an original and wide-ranging set of case studies, Brady shows that success in reducing harm has varied between communities, largely depending on whether motivations to raise revenue or to reduce harm are in control.’ — Professor Robin Room, Director, Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, La Trobe University In the Media Read the Alice Spring News article: ‘Proper’ drinking: elusive goal but how hard have we tried? Awards Shortlisted – 2019 Chief Minister's Northern Territory History Book Award
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Reluctant Representatives »

Blackfella bureaucrats speak in Australia’s north

Authored by: Elizabeth Ganter
Publication date: November 2016
‘How can you make decisions about Aboriginal people when you can’t even talk to the people you’ve got here that are blackfellas?’ So ‘Sarah’, a senior Aboriginal public servant, imagines a conversation with the Northern Territory Public Service. Her question suggests tensions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who have accepted the long-standing invitation to join the ranks of the public service. Reluctant Representatives gives us a rare glimpse into the working world of the individuals behind the Indigenous public sector employment statistics. This empathetic exposé of the challenges of representative bureaucracy draws on interviews with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who have tried making it work. Through Ganter’s engaging narration, we learn that the mere presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the public service is not enough. If bureaucracies are to represent the communities they serve, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public servants need to be heard and need to know their people are heard.
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Indigenous Data Sovereignty »

Toward an agenda

Publication date: November 2016
As the global ‘data revolution’ accelerates, how can the data rights and interests of indigenous peoples be secured? Premised on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, this book argues that indigenous peoples have inherent and inalienable rights relating to the collection, ownership and application of data about them, and about their lifeways and territories. As the first book to focus on indigenous data sovereignty, it asks: what does data sovereignty mean for indigenous peoples, and how is it being used in their pursuit of self-determination?  The varied group of mostly indigenous contributors theorise and conceptualise this fast-emerging field and present case studies that illustrate the challenges and opportunities involved. These range from indigenous communities grappling with issues of identity, governance and development, to national governments and NGOs seeking to formulate a response to indigenous demands for data ownership. While the book is focused on the CANZUS states of Canada, Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand and the United States, much of the content and discussion will be of interest and practical value to a broader global audience. ‘A debate-shaping book … it speaks to a fast-emerging field; it has a lot of important things to say; and the timing is right.’  — Stephen Cornell, Professor of Sociology and Faculty Chair of the Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona ‘The effort … in this book to theorise and conceptualise data sovereignty and its links to the realisation of the rights of indigenous peoples is pioneering and laudable.’  — Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Baguio City, Philippines
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Better Than Welfare? »

Work and livelihoods for Indigenous Australians after CDEP

Edited by: Kirrily Jordan
Publication date: August 2016
The end of the very long-standing Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme in 2015 marked a critical juncture in Australian Indigenous policy history. For more than 30 years, CDEP had been among the biggest and most influential programs in the Indigenous affairs portfolio, employing many thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. More recently, it had also become a focus of intense political contestation that culminated in its ultimate demise.  This book examines the consequences of its closure for Indigenous people, communities and organisations. The end of CDEP is first situated in its broader historical and political context: the debates over notions of ‘self-determination’ versus ‘mainstreaming’ and the enduring influence of concerns about ‘passive welfare’ and ‘mutual obligation’. In this way, the focus on CDEP highlights more general trends in Indigenous policymaking, and questions whether the dominant government approach is on the right track. Each chapter takes a different disciplinary approach to this question, variously focusing on the consequences of change for community and economic development, individual work habits and employment outcomes, and institutional capacity within the Indigenous sector. Across the case studies examined, the chapters suggest that the end of CDEP has heralded the emergence of a greater reliance on welfare rather than the increased employment outcomes the government had anticipated. Concluding that CDEP was ‘better than welfare’ in many ways, the book offers encouragement to policymakers to ensure that future reforms generate livelihood options for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians that are, in turn, better than CDEP.
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Engaging Indigenous Economy »

Debating diverse approaches

Edited by: Will Sanders
Publication date: April 2016
The engagement of Indigenous Australians in economic activity is a matter of long-standing public concern and debate. Jon Altman has been intellectually engaged with Indigenous economic activity for almost 40 years, most prominently through his elaboration of the concept of the hybrid economy, and most recently through his sustained and trenchant critique of policy. He has inspired others also to engage with these important issues, both through his writing and through his position as the foundation Director of The Australian National University’s Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy research from 1990 to 2010. The year 2014 saw both Jon’s 60th birthday and his retirement from CAEPR. This collection of essays marks those events. Contributors include long‑standing colleagues from the disciplines of economics, anthropology and political science, and younger scholars who have been inspired by Jon’s approach in developing their own research projects. All point to the complexity as well as the importance of engaging with Indigenous economic activity — conceptually, empirically and as a strategic concern for public policy.
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Indigenous Australians and the National Disability Insurance Scheme »

Publication date: October 2014
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is one of the major policy innovations of the early 21st century in Australia, representing a new way of delivering services to people with a disability and those who care for them. It has the potential to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, giving them greater certainty and control over their lives. There is a higher incidence of disability in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population than in the Australian population more generally, so the NDIS is of particular relevance to Indigenous Australians. However, Indigenous Australians with a disability have a very distinct age, geographic and health profile, which differs from that of the equivalent non-Indigenous population. Furthermore, the conceptualisation of disability and care in many Indigenous communities, particularly in remote areas, may differ markedly in comparison to more settled parts of the country, and there is the added complexity of a unique history of interaction with government. In considering these issues in detail, this Research Monograph provides a resource for policy makers, researchers and service providers who are working in this important policy area. Its major conclusion is that the NDIS, if it is to be an effective policy for Indigenous Australians, needs to take into account their very particular needs and aspirations.
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My Country, Mine Country »

Indigenous people, mining and development contestation in remote Australia

Authored by: Benedict Scambary
Publication date: May 2013
Agreements between the mining industry and Indigenous people are not creating sustainable economic futures for Indigenous people, and this demands consideration of alternate forms of economic engagement in order to realise such ‘futures’. Within the context of three mining agreements in north Australia this study considers Indigenous livelihood aspirations and their intersection with sustainable development agendas. The three agreements are the Yandi Land Use Agreement in the Central Pilbara in Western Australia, the Ranger Uranium Mine Agreement in the Kakadu region of the Northern Territory, and the Gulf Communities Agreement in relation to the Century zinc mine in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland. Recent shifts in Indigenous policy in Australia seek to de-emphasise the cultural behaviour or imperatives of Indigenous people in undertaking economic action, in favour of a mainstream conventional approach to economic development. Concepts of ‘value’, ‘identity’, and ‘community’ are key elements in the tension between culture and economics that exists in the Indigenous policy environment. Whilst significant diversity exists within the Indigenous polity, Indigenous aspirations for the future typically emphasise a desire for alternate forms of economic engagement that combine elements of the mainstream economy with the maintenance and enhancement of Indigenous institutions and ‘livelihood’ activities. Such aspirations reflect ongoing and dynamic responses to modernity, and typically concern the interrelated issues of access to and management of ‘country’, the maintenance of Indigenous institutions associated with family and kin, access to resources such as cash and vehicles, the establishment of robust representative organisations, and are integrally linked to the derivation of both symbolic and economic value of livelihood pursuits.
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Survey Analysis for Indigenous Policy in Australia »

Social Science Perspectives

Publication date: November 2012
Indigenous policy is a complex domain motivated by a range of social, cultural, political and economic issues. The Council of Australian Governments ‘closing the gaps’ agenda for addressing Indigenous disadvantage in Australia now includes six targets with well defined and measurable outcomes for policy action. In this context there is a continuing and pressing need for robust debate to understand how meaningful improvement in Indigenous outcomes might be achieved. This monograph presents the peer-reviewed proceedings of the 2011 CAEPR/ABS conference on ‘Social Science Perspectives on the 2008 National and Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Social Survey’. It is the fourth CAEPR monograph since 1992 to reflect on national surveys of Indigenous Australians. The conference covered topics including child development, crime and justice, culture, wellbeing, the customary economy, demography, education, employment, fertility, health, housing, income and financial stress, mobility, poverty, social exclusion, and substance abuse. The papers summarise the strengths and limitations of the 2008 NATSISS, discuss the types of policy-relevant questions it can inform, and consider future survey design. A social survey such as the NATSISS can ultimately never tell those responsible for developing public policy what to do, but it can provide useful information to inform policy decisions. This volume will be useful for researchers and policy makers, and relevant to the wider national debate and, in particular, Indigenous communities and organisations.
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Demographic and Socioeconomic Outcomes Across the Indigenous Australian Lifecourse »

Evidence from the 2006 Census

Authored by: Nicholas Biddle, Mandy Yap
Publication date: December 2010
Across almost all standard indicators, the Indigenous population of Australia has worse outcomes than the non-Indigenous population. Despite the abundance of statistics and a plethora of government reports on Indigenous outcomes, there is very little information on how Indigenous disadvantage accumulates or is mitigated through time at the individual level. The research that is available highlights two key findings. Firstly, that Indigenous disadvantage starts from a very early age and widens over time. Secondly, that the timing of key life events including education attendance, marriage, childbirth and retirement occur on average at different ages for the Indigenous compared to the non-Indigenous population. To target policy interventions that will contribute to meeting the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Closing the Gap targets, it is important to understand and acknowledge the differences between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous lifecourse in Australia, as well as the factors that lead to variation within the Indigenous population.
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Power, Culture, Economy »

Indigenous Australians and Mining

Publication date: August 2009
Research over the past decade in health, employment, life expectancy, child mortality, and household income has confirmed that Indigenous Australians are still Australia’s most disadvantaged group. Those residing in communities in regional and remote Australia are further disadvantaged because of the limited formal economic opportunities there. In these areas mining developments may be the major—and sometimes the only—contributors to regional economic development. However Indigenous communities have gained only relatively limited long-term economic development benefits from mining activity on land that they own or over which they have property rights of varying significance. Furthermore, while Indigenous people may place high value on realising particular non-economic benefits from mining agreements, there may be only limited capacity to deliver such benefits. This collection of papers focuses on three large, ongoing mining operations in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory under two statutory regimes—the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 and the Native Title Act 1993. The authors outline the institutional basis to greater industry involvement while describing and analysing the best practice principles that can be utilised both by companies and Indigenous community organisations. The research addresses questions such as: What factors underlie successful investment in community relations and associated agreement governance and benefit packages for Indigenous communities? How are economic and non-economic flows monitored? What are the values and aspirations which Indigenous people may bring to bear in their engagement with mining developments? What more should companies and government do to develop the capacity and sustainability of local Indigenous organisations? What mining company strategies build community capacity to deal with impacts of mining? Are these adequate? How to prepare for sustainable futures for Indigenous Australians after mine closure? This research was conducted under an Australian Research Council Linkage Project, with Rio Tinto and the Committee for Economic Development of Australia as Industry Partners.
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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.
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Agency, Contingency and Census Process »

Observations of the 2006 Indigenous Enumeration Strategy in remote Aboriginal Australia

Edited by: Frances Morphy
Publication date: December 2007
The Indigenous Enumeration Strategy (IES) of the Australian National Census of Population and Housing has evolved over the years in response to the perceived ‘difference’ of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. Its defining characteristics are the use of locally recruited, mostly Indigenous collector interviewers, and the administration of a modified collection instrument in discrete Indigenous communities, mostly in remote Australia. The research reported here is unique. The authors, with the assistance of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, were able to follow the workings of the IES in the 2006 Census from the design of the collection instrument to the training of temporary census field staff at the Northern Territory’s Census Management Unit in Darwin, to the enumeration in four remote locations, through to the processing stage at the Data Processing Centre in Melbourne. This allowed the tracking of data from collection to processing, and an assessment of the effects of information flows on the quality of the data, both as input and output. This study of the enumeration involved four very different locations: a group of small outstation communities (Arnhem Land), a large Aboriginal township (Wadeye), an ‘open’ town with a majority Aboriginal population (Fitzroy Crossing), and the minority Aboriginal population of a major regional centre (Alice Springs). A comparison between these contexts reveals differences that reflect the diversity of remote Aboriginal Australia, but also commonalities that exert a powerful influence on the effectiveness of the IES, in particular very high levels of short-term mobility. The selection of sites also allowed a comparison between the enumeration process in the Northern Territory, where a time-extended rolling count was explicitly planned for, and Western Australia, where a modified form of the standard count had been envisaged. The findings suggest that the IES has reached a point in its development where the injection of ever-increasing resources into essentially the same generic set and structure of activities may be producing diminishing returns. There is a need for a new kind of engagement between the Australian Bureau of Statistics and local government and Indigenous community-sector organisations in remote Australia. The agency and local knowledge of Indigenous people could be harnessed more effectively through an ongoing relationship with such organisations, to better address the complex contingencies confronting the census process in remote Indigenous Australia.
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The Social Effects of Native Title »

Recognition, Translation, Coexistence

Edited by: Benjamin R. Smith, Frances Morphy
Publication date: October 2007
The papers in this collection reflect on the various social effects of native title. In particular, the authors consider the ways in which the implementation of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth), and the native title process for which this Act legislates, allow for the recognition and translation of Aboriginal law and custom, and facilitate particular kinds of coexistence between Aboriginal title holders and other Australians. In so doing, the authors seek to extend the debate on native title beyond questions of practice and towards an improved understanding of the effects of native title on the social lives of Indigenous Australians and on Australian society more generally. These attempts to grapple with the effects of native title have, in part, been impelled by Indigenous people’s complaints about the Act and the native title process. Since the Act was passed, many Indigenous Australians have become increasingly unhappy with both the strength and forms of recognition afforded to traditional law and custom under the Act, as well as with the socially disruptive effects of the native title process. In particular, as several of the papers in this collection demonstrate, there is widespread discomfort with the transformative effects of recognition within the native title process, effects which can then affect other aspects of Indigenous lives.
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Assessing the Evidence on Indigenous Socioeconomic Outcomes »

A focus on the 2002 NATSISS

Edited by: Boyd Hunter
Publication date: June 2006
This monograph presents the peer-reviewed proceedings of the CAEPR conference on Indigenous Socioeconomic Outcomes: Assessing Recent Evidence, held at The Australian National University in August 2005. It presents the latest evidence on Indigenous economic and social status, and family and community life, and discusses its implications for government policy. The main focus of this volume is on analysing the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) outputs and issues about how to interpret the data. It also offers some assessment of changes in Indigenous social conditions over time and examines how Indigenous people fared vis-à-vis other Australians in other statistical collections. The discussion of the broad Indigenous policy context by three prominent Indigenous Australians—Larissa Berhendt, Tom Calma, and Geoff Scott—explores different perspectives.
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Indigenous People and the Pilbara Mining Boom »

A baseline for regional participation

Authored by: John Taylor, B. Scambary
Publication date: January 2006
The largest escalation of mining activity in Australian history is currently underway in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Pilbara-based transnational resource companies recognise that major social and economic impacts on Indigenous communities in the region are to be expected and that sound relations with these communities and the pursuit of sustainable regional economies involving greater Indigenous participation provide the necessary foundations for a social licence to operate. This study examines the dynamics of demand for Indigenous labour in the region, and the capacity of local supply to respond. A special feature of this study is the inclusion of qualitative data reporting the views of local Indigenous people on the social and economic predicaments that face them. The basic message conveyed is that little has been achieved over the past four decades in terms of enhancing Indigenous socioeconomic status in the Pilbara. On the basis of planned economic development and corporate interest in pursuing Indigenous engagement, progress is now possible but major efforts are required from all interested stakeholders (Indigenous organisations, miners and governments) in order to ensure that this occurs.
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Social Indicators for Aboriginal Governance »

Insights from the Thamarrurr Region, Northern Territory

Authored by: John Taylor
Publication date: October 2004
John Taylor is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, The Australian National University, Canberra. The Council of Australian Governments is trialing Indigenous Community Coordination Pilot schemes around the country aimed at fostering whole-of-government approaches to service delivery and development. A notable example is in the Thamarrurr region of the Northern Territory focused on the Aboriginal town of Wadeye and its hinterland. Under new governance arrangements the Thamarrurr Regional Council has identified a need to profile existing social and economic conditions as a basis for its current planning and future evaluation. This study provides an innovative template for such profiling. With substantial input from local people it uncovers a region of high population growth with major challenges in areas of employment, income, education and training, housing and infrastructure, health status and criminal justice. It yields a baseline of available data to assist discussions of regional needs, aspirations and development capacities. By using population projections, it shifts government and community thinking away from reactive responses to historic need, to a more pro-active future-oriented approach to development. The Thamarrurr people view this document as an important planning tool for their people. Their aim is to have the same access to services and opportunities as other Australians. “Give every kid a chance” is their catch cry. This study lays out what is required from governments and the community to achieve that vision.
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Health Expenditure, Income and Health Status Among Indigenous and Other Australians »

Publication date: August 2004
Using data from the 1995 National Health Survey (NHS) this study asks the question—what is the relationship between income, health expenditure and health status for the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in Australia? Income is generally seen as an indicator of ability to address the need for health expenditure, and as a factor in influencing health status. The expectation, therefore, is that income and health status are positively related. The analysis measures differences in health expenditure and reported health status between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, holding income level constant. No association is found between income and Indigenous health status. A number of explanations are canvassed. The finding may simply reflect poor data quality, both in terms of income and self-assessed health status. An alternative hypothesis, with long-term implications, is that adult mortality reflects foetal and childhood health, regardless of current income status.
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The Indigenous Welfare Economy and the CDEP Scheme »

Publication date: May 2004
In recent debates about the Indigenous welfare economy, the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme has not been given the attention it deserves. It represents a major adaptation of the Australian welfare system to the particular social and economic circumstances of Indigenous people. Part I of this volume contains overview papers which place the CDEP program in its wider cultural, sociopolitical, and economic contexts. The contributions in Part II address policy and policy-related issues which impact directly, or indirectly, on the structure and function of the CDEP scheme as a whole and of individual CDEP projects. Part III presents research based case-studies of particular CDEP projects in their regional contexts, drawn from the Northern Territory, South Australia, and Victoria. Part IV consists of short case studies, from the perspective of the participants themselves, of a number of CDEP organisations. These case studies provide an important perspective, taking up and providing a grass-roots view of many of the broader policy themes and concerns that are discussed elsewhere in the monograph. The crucial issue, addressed by many of the contributions, is how Indigenous self determination and the rights agenda, which argues for the unique and inherent rights of Indigenous Australians, will sit with (or in opposition to) the ‘mutual obligation’ of the Howard government’s welfare reform. The volume thus represents a contribution to an ongoing and important debate in current Australian social policy.
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Aboriginal Population Profiles for Development Planning in the Northern East Kimberley »

Authored by: John Taylor
Publication date: March 2004
John Taylor is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, The Australian National University, Canberra. The Northern East Kimberley region of Western Australia is poised at a development crossroads with decisions pending on the extension or closure of Argyle Diamond Mine, and the ever-present prospect of agricultural expansion based on Ord Stage II. This region also has a major economic development problem—half of its adult population (almost all Aboriginal) is highly dependent on welfare, mostly outside the mainstream labour market, and ill-equipped to engage it. Aboriginal people are major stakeholders in the region as its customary owners and most permanent residents. Whatever decisions are made about future development, it is essential that they bring about improvements in Aboriginal participation, not least because of the high opportunity cost to Aboriginal people and to government of failing to do so. This study profiles social and economic conditions in the region, focusing on the Aboriginal population. It examines demography, the labour market, income, education and training, housing and infrastructure, health status, and regional involvement in the criminal justice system. It provides a quantum to discussions of need, aspirations and regional development capacities, as well as a benchmark against which the impact of developmental actions may be assessed.
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Making Sense of the Census »

Observations of the 2001 Enumeration in Remote Aboriginal Australia

Publication date: March 2004
Special enumeration procedures for Indigenous Australians were introduced in the 1971 Census, and have been a feature of the Australian national census ever since. In 2001, as in previous years, the Indigenous Enumeration Strategy (IES) involved the use of locally recruited, mostly Indigenous, interviewers and the administration of modified forms. This monograph presents the results of the first detailed comparative appraisal of the IES. Three CAEPR researchers observed the 2001 Census enumeration, each in a different remote-area context: Martin at Aurukun, a major Aboriginal township on Cape York Peninsula, Morphy at a small outstation community in the Northern Territory, and Sanders in the town camps of Alice Springs. The Australian Bureau of Statistics facilitated the research by granting the researchers status as official observers. The introductory chapter by John Taylor gives a brief history of the IES and sets the context for the research. The three case-studies form the central chapters, and are followed by a concluding chapter that summarises the findings and recommendations. While each locality had its unique characteristics, the authors found some common problems across the board which lead to general recommendations about the future design of the IES. They advocate a simplification of the enumeration procedure, the abandonment of the ‘two-form’ structure, the focusing of the IES more narrowly on people in ‘traditionally-oriented’ discrete Indigenous communities, and substantial changes in the design and content of any new ‘special Indigenous’ census form.
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