Those who have finished high school and/or obtained non-school qualifications experience a range of positive outcomes throughout their lives. Despite these benefits being likely to apply to the Indigenous Australian population, current as well as past participation in education is substantially lower than that of the non-Indigenous population. Some reasons for this relatively low participation may be locational and monetary disadvantage, household overcrowding and a curriculum that is not always relevant. How Indigenous Australians form their expectations about the benefits of education and what these expectations might be (accurate or otherwise) may also influence educational participation.
This thesis looks at the education outcomes of Indigenous Australians. There are two main research questions are examined. The first is what are the relative benefits of education for the Indigenous population? The main outcomes that are focussed on are employment and income; however, there is also analysis of the extent to which those with higher education levels report better health outcomes or more favourable health behaviour.
The second main research question is what factors are associated with the decision to attend high school? That is...
There have been a number of labour market programs that have attempted to increase rates of employment of Indigenous Australians by influencing job search behaviour. However, remarkably little is known about the job search behaviour of Indigenous job seekers or how this compares with the job search behaviour of other job seekers. This paper provides the first ever baseline of data on the job search behaviour of Indigenous job seekers and how it compares to the job search of non-Indigenous job seekers. Clear differences in the job search behaviour between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are apparent. Indigenous Australians rely disproportionately on friends and relatives as a source of information about jobs, although their networks tend to have fewer employed members and therefore are of less value than those of non-Indigenous job seekers. Non-Indigenous job seekers are more likely to use more proactive search methods than are Indigenous job seekers.; no
This paper examines the economic status of Indigenous Australians as a self-identifying group. It is an early version of an entry to the 2nd edition of the Encyclopedia of the Australian People, to be published in 2001. Indigenous Australians today face a diversity of economic circumstances. At one end of a spectrum are those residing in urban settings and engaging with the market economy, with varying degrees of success, like other Australians. At the other end are those who reside in remote parts of Australia and maintain important aspects of the Indigenous economy. Despite this heterogeneity, the vast majority of Indigenous people (73 per cent) reside either in towns or in cities, with the remaining 27 per cent residing in small Indigenous towns (so defined because the majority of the population is Indigenous), on pastoral stations or at outstations. It can be argued that nowhere are the differences between Indigenous institutions and those of the colonisers of Australia more marked than in the economic system. Measures of economic status are primarily statistical and based on the social indicator approach. The social indicators utilised in this paper provide data that differentiates Indigenous from non-Indigenous Australians in relation to employment...
Geographically mobile populations are notoriously difficult to survey, especially in a cross-cultural context. In broad terms, it is difficult to ensure that respondents are representative of the underlying population and that data obtained are relevant to them. At a practical level, the problem can be as basic as not having any well-formed notion of what defines a household. Consequently, the resulting analysis of households is at best imprecise and, at worst, conceptually confused. Longitudinal data add a time dimension to surveys and the resulting analysis is potentially sensitive to the initial experience of individual respondents. This paper documents the lessons for the design and conduct of longitudinal data collection from three recent surveys of an exceptionally mobile population, Indigenous Australians. Since high levels of mobility characterise many unemployed and younger Australians, the lessons described here have wider application for general longitudinal surveys.; no
Benjamin Disraeli originally coined the phrase ‘Two Nations’ in 1845 to characterise the chasm between rich and poor in Victorian England. While the differential in access to resources has been reduced this century by the development of the welfare state, there is ongoing concern about the level of inequality in Australia. This paper attempts to develop, and sustain, the metaphor that there are three Nations in Australia: the rich, the poor non-indigenous Australians and indigenous Australians. That is, indigenous Australians are different from other poor and rich Australians in the nature and extent of destitution experienced in much of their community.
The paper is written in six sections. First, a discussion of several case studies and personal accounts in order to illustrate the indigenous experience of poverty. Second, an introduction of several conceptual and empirical issues for measuring the multi-faceted nature of indigenous poverty. Third, a description of the data and method used to analyse indigenous poverty. Fourth, a presentation of data which illustrates the multi-dimensional nature of indigenous poverty. The penultimate section canvasses strategies for tackling indigenous poverty while the final section provides some concluding remarks.; no
The enactment of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 by the Howard Government represented an acceleration in the pace of industrial relations reform. Amid these significant and widespread legislative developments, little attention was paid to the plight of groups traditionally disadvantaged in the labour market-including Indigenous people. The Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey (AWIRS) 1995 is the first publicly released data set that permits analysts to directly examine the industrial relations environment in firms that employ Indigenous Australians. Information from the AWIRS employee survey and AWIRS Employee Relations Managers survey are used in the analysis.; no
Welfare reform in the USA began in the late 1980s and accelerated with the passage of the Welfare Reform Act in 1996. Welfare rolls have been cut dramatically. In contrast, welfare reform that incorporates the needs and entitlements of Indigenous Australians has only recently gained momentum and the welfare changes in Australia have been minor. Indigenous Australians are one of the groups disproportionately represented among welfare recipients and there has been intense debate about the best way of dealing with this problem. This paper examines the changes which have taken place in the USA, especially with respect to Native Americans, and considers the salutary lessons—both positive and negative—for welfare reform that focuses on Indigenous Australians. It summarises key relevant differences and similarities in the two social security systems and Indigenous population characteristics, and then identifes a set of important policy and economic conundrums that appear to have resonance in Australia. These include: • the nexus between Indigenous welfare dependence and economic development; • the roles of education and work in facilitating sustained exits from welfare; • the role of time limits on eligibility for receipt of welfare and employment outcomes; • the question of how to sustain post-welfare Indigenous employment; • the issue of where the focus for policy and service delivery should lie—with individuals...
Diabetes in Indigenous Australians occurs at a younger age and at almost four times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians. While the cause for this health disparity is multi-factorial, recent studies suggest that nutrition, and particularly magnesium intake, may play a role in onset of diabetes and related pathologies. No study has ever examined whether there is any relationship between diabetes and magnesium intake in Indigenous Australians, and the present study therefore sought to establish whether any such interrelationship existed. As part of this study, dietary magnesium intake was estimated in an urban cohort of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander subjects and compared to the average Australian dietary intake. An ecological study then explored environmental correlates, and specifically the magnesium level in drinking water, to diabetes mortality. Finally, total and free serum magnesium concentrations were determined to identify any differences in magnesium status between diabetic and non-diabetic Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and also to compare which of the two parameters was a more sensitive measure of magnesium status and diabetic risk.
All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that were recruited for this study were patients of the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Services...
BACKGROUND: To estimate the incidence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) within the indigenous Australian population living in Central Australia. DEISGN: Clinic-based cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: One thousand eight hundred eighty-four individuals aged ≥20 years living in one of 30 remote communities within the statistical local area of ‘Central Australia’. METHODS: Among those with diabetes mellitus (DM) (n = 1040), 432 (42%) were reviewed between 6 months and 3 years (median 21 months) after the initial examination. DR in participants with DM was graded using the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study classification. Baseline results were compared with those at follow-up. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The incidence of any DR and vision-threatening DR (clinically significant macular oedema and/or proliferative DR) in at least one eye. RESULTS: Of those with DM but without DR at baseline, 8.41% (9.42% of those aged 40 years or older) per year developed DR. Meanwhile, 0.7% (0.92% for those aged ≥40 years) of those with no DR at baseline developed vision-threatening DR per year, increasing to 8.4% per year for those with minimal or mild non-proliferative DR, and 28.2% per year for those with moderate or severe non-proliferative DR at baseline. CONCLUSION: Our study has estimated the annual incidence rates of DR among indigenous Australians living within Central Australia. These rates are similar to those from the non-indigenous population...
OBJECTIVES: To compare oral health literacy (OHL) levels between two profoundly disadvantaged groups, Indigenous Australians and American Indians, and to explore differences in socio-demographic, dental service utilisation, self-reported oral health indicators, and oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) correlates of OHL among the above. METHODS: OHL was measured using REALD-30 among convenience samples of 468 Indigenous Australians (aged 17–72 years, 63% female) and 254 female American Indians (aged 18–57 years). Covariates included socio-demography, dental utilisation, self-reported oral health status (OHS), perceived treatment needs and OHRQoL (prevalence, severity and extent of OHIP-14 ‘impacts’). Descriptive and bivariate methods were used for data presentation and analysis, and between-sample comparisons relied upon empirical contrasts of sample-specific estimates and correlation coefficients. RESULTS: OHL scores were: Indigenous Australians - 15.0 (95% CL=14.2, 15.8) and American Indians - 13.7 (95% CL=13.1, 14.4). In both populations, OHL strongly correlated with educational attainment, and was lower among participants with infrequent dental attendance and perceived restorative treatment needs. A significant inverse association between OHL and prevalence of OHRQoL impacts was found among American Indians (rho=-0.23; 95% CL=-0.34...
BACKGROUND Individual-level factors influence DMFT, but little is known about the influence of community environment. This study examined associations between community-level influences and DMFT among a birth cohort of Indigenous Australians aged 16–20 years. METHODS Data were collected as part of Wave 3 of the Aboriginal Birth Cohort study. Fifteen community areas were established and the sample comprised 442 individuals. The outcome variable was mean DMFT with explanatory variables including diet and community disadvantage (access to services, infrastructure and communications). Data were analysed using multilevel regression modelling. RESULTS In a null model, 13.8% of the total variance in mean DMFT was between community areas, which increased to 14.3% after adjusting for gender, age and diet. Addition of the community disadvantage variable decreased the variance between areas by 4.8%, indicating that community disadvantage explained one-third of the area-level variance. Residents of under-resourced communities had significantly higher mean DMFT (β = 3.86, 95% CI 0.02, 7.70) after adjusting for gender, age and diet. CONCLUSIONS Living in under-resourced communities was associated with greater DMFT among this disadvantaged population...
OBJECTIVE: To describe the reported oral health behaviours and perceptions of Indigenous Australians living in Darwin, Northern Territory and to compare those with estimates for Darwin and Australia derived from the National Survey of Adult Oral Health (NSAOH). PARTICIPANTS: A total of 181 Indigenous Australians aged 22 years and over living in Darwin, participating in screening for a wider randomised clinical trial, were included. METHOD: Information on socio-demographic characteristics, oral health status including oral health behaviours and perceptions was collected using a questionnaire. Differences between the Darwin study (DS) participants and Australians in NSAOH were made based on non-overlapping 95% confidence intervals. RESULTS: Almost 72% of DS participants had last seen a dentist over a year earlier, compared to 47% and 39% of NSAOH Darwin and Australian participants, respectively. A higher proportion of DS participants usually visited a dentist because of a problem than NSAOH Darwin and NSAOH Australian participants. A higher proportion of DS participants had avoided or delayed a dental visit because of cost than NSAOH participants. Over three times as many DS participants rated their oral health as fair/poor compared to NSAOH participants. A higher proportion of DS participants had perceived gum disease and one or more symptoms of gum disease than NSAOH participants. A higher proportion of DS participants experienced toothache...
The objective of this paper is to review reform to the vocational education and training (VET) sector over the last decade in the context of Indigenous participation. In particular, it focuses on the five objectives of the National Strategy as these were identified in A Bridge to the Future (ANTA 1998a), and their implications for Indigenous participation in the VET sector. These five objectives underpin the policy framework that has driven VET reform, thus providing a convenient platform from which to discuss any possible impact on Indigenous Australians. Following the endorsement by Commonwealth, State and Territory governments in 1989 of the broad principles outlined in the Aboriginal Education Policy (AEP), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have enjoyed greater access to and participation in the vocational education and training (VET) sector. This represents a considerable shift from the, at best, marginal participation of Indigenous Australians in post-compulsory education just two decades ago. Today Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders participate in the VET sector to a proportionally greater degree than do other Australians (Robinson & Hughes 1999). Consequently, any reforms to the VET sector over the last decade will have had implications for Indigenous Australians. Some of these reforms potentially increase their opportunities...
Unemployment amongst Indigenous Australians is one part of a bleak and worrying picture of economic and social divide in this country. Since the early
1970s the Australian Government has increasingly invested in policies to address Indigenous disadvantage in employment and other areas.
Terms such as 'stakeholder engagement' and 'participation' have become part of
the government lexicon in addressing Indigenous disadvantage. In light of the nominal importance placed on stakeholder engagement, it is important to
question what the concept means in practice -that is, what mechanisms exist for incorporating stakeholders in policy development. More specifically, this report
investigates how stakeholders can be involved in employment policy development.
The CDEP program has dual roles of providing employment and welfare services to Indigenous people. It has become .an integral part of many local economies, particularly in remote communities. The scheme is also an important mechanism for stakeholder engagement. It enhances the potential for regional perspectives to inform economic development and employment decision-making. The Rudd Government is currently phasing out the CDEP scheme. This decision is partly based on the scheme's failure to function as a job-readiness program in communities where local economies are small and jobs are very scarce. The
removal of CDEP in these remote regions will force many people onto unemployment benefits. It may also jeopardise key representative Indigenous
organisations in remote communities. Recommendation 1: limited exceptions should be made to the removal of CDEP...
Noel Pearson has recently argued that inclusion in a 'passive' welfare system, over the last thirty years, has been to the detriment of Aboriginal society. This paper approaches the inclusion of Aboriginal people in the social security system from a slightly different perspective, while taking seriously Pearson's concerns. It argues that, despite norms and aspirations of universalism, rules within the social security system are social constructs derived from and intended for the particular social and economic circumstances of the dominant society. When those rules are applied to the very different social and economic circumstances of minority groups, such as Indigenous Australians, major issues of adaptation and interpretation arise. This paper draws on research experience spanning 20 years on relations between Indigenous Australians and the social security system to illustrate the degree to which adaptation has occurred, in the pursuit of realism. However it also argues current relations between the social security system and Indigenous Australians are not just and fair because the rules of the system do not equally reflect Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples' social and economic circumstances.
July 1, 2004 marked the official implementation of the most significant changes to
Indigenous Affairs Australia has ever experienced. Government Indigenous specific
program outcomes, machinery for the monitoring of these programs, service delivery
and the general engagement with the Indigenous community had not experienced
positive progress in decades.
In the year 2005 we have a situation where the first Australians, composing one of the
oldest continuous cultures in the world faces a denial of the most basic rights owed to
mankind, and as such, a dire future. The appalling levels of social and economic
disadvantage experienced by this community are reflected in the disproportionately
low levels of education, employment, income, housing, access to sanitation and clean
water that are part of daily life in some communities. These communities have the
right to obtain the standard of living the most Australians take for granted. They are
owed this right not because they are Indigenous, but because they are human.
This overhaul of the Indigenous affairs, or 'new arrangements' acknowledges the
multifaceted and deep-rooted nature of disadvantage; that no one government
department or one program can overcome this disadvantage...
The Australian Public Service and the Modern Discourse.
Since the development of Western government in Australia, policymakers
have struggled with how to interact with Indigenous Australians. The first
discourses that framed policy concerned separation, and later segregation,
between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Over time, these
discourses have evolved into the modern discourse of equality, where
Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are to be considered equal
members of a greater Australian society.
Since the development of the modern discourse in the late 1960s and
early 1970s, the employment of Indigenous Australians in the Australian
Public Service (APS) has been an important part of federal policy. As the
public employer of the Commonwealth, the APS represents to many
people the country's commitment to achieving its goals for Indigenous
Australians. Diversity, employment, and service delivery are all key goals,
and each is greatly influenced by the modern discourse.
Challenges to Realizing the Goals of the Modern Discourse.
One of the most pressing challenges to the Commonwealth's goals is
historical employment disadvantage among Indigenous Australians.
Indigenous unemployment is at least around 40 percent (SCRGSP 2005...
The Whitlam government of the 1970s introduced the principle of self-determination
to Indigenous affairs. Since then it has been accepted as an
important factor in attaining equality for Indigenous Australians. Self-determination
can be broadly understood to mean the transference of political and
economic power to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. In is
understood in terms of Aboriginal people having control over the ultimate decision
about a wide range of matters including political status, and economic, social and
cultural development and having the resources and capacity to control the future
of their own communities within the legal structure common to all Australians.
Political representation is a vital aspect of Indigenous self-determination as it is
the forum in which Indigenous people can express their views and opinions as
well as influence policies concerning their lives and communities and interact with
the government in order to achieve the best possible results for all involved.
It can be argued that the present government's policies in the area of Indigenous
affairs have marked a significant shift away from the policy of self-determination
as evident in the dismantlement of representative structures such as ATSIC. The
policies of self-determination and self-management led to what Will Sanders
describes as two experiments in the creation of government-sponsored Aboriginal
representative structures - the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee
Indigenous Australians and those with disability are two of Australia's largest minorities.
There are 757,000 Australian's receiving the disability support pension and the vast
majority of indigenous Australian's receive some form of income support from the
government. This report has selected three of the most important policy areas to
explore; education, employment and welfare dependency.
Australia has ratified both the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and
the Declaration of the Rights of Persons with Disability and this is the basis for the policy
links discussed in this report. While those with Disability are able to appeal to the UN if
all other avenues have been exhausted indigenous Australians are not. The UN
Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous has been 'ratified' yet has no legal standing for
fear of land rights issues arising and compensation claims developing as a result of the
The education system of those with disability and indigenous Australians is the most
important policy area. Both are under the control of state governments but need further
funding and support from the Federal government. It is recommended that a higher level
of accountability is required if there is to be development in this area. It is required at all
1 .1 Background
The Indigenous life expectancy gap is a major public health challenge for Australia. The persistent severity of the health differential and comparisons on an international scale demonstrate that Australia's response to this issue to date has been insufficient. Renewed political resolve has been generated by the commitment of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to 'close the gap within a generation. However, in light of the timeframe needed to resolve many of the underlying issues contributing to the health
gap, this aim may not be achievable. A shorter-term focus on rigorous and wide-spread implementation of evidence-based process measures is needed. This will increase the transparency and accountability of the health reconciliation process.
However, the question of how best to allocate resources in order to maximise the public health benefits remains unresolved. One approach is to focus on the areas that contribute significantly to the health gap. Obesity is an important chronic disease risk factor and accounts for 16% of the gap in morbiditiy and mortality between Indigenous
and non-Indigenous people. The health consequences of obesity can be severe, notably due to the increased risk of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease (CVD ) and type 2 diabetes. Reducing obesity prevalence through prevention therefore warrants more
concerted effort on behalf of all stakeholders in Indigenous health.
The purpose of this paper is to report on and critically examine the evidence surrounding
the effectiveness of potential obesity prevention strategies targeted to Indigenous Australians. A secondary aim is to compare this evidence base to existing federal policy concerning strategies that contribute...