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New pathways to a shared future Ms Jan Ferguson Managing Director Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre United Nations Association of Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "New pathways to a shared future Ms Jan Ferguson Managing Director Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre United Nations Association of Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 New pathways to a shared future Ms Jan Ferguson Managing Director Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre United Nations Association of Australia 28 August 2009 Brisbane

2 Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (DKCRC) Vision The DKCRC is committed to: creating economic opportunities for desert people; and making a demonstrable difference for remote Aboriginal communities, and settlements through the application of participatory research and training.

3 Desert Knowledge CRC Australia’s largest regionally based social, economic, and environmental research collaboration. Approximately 250 researchers across 28 partner agencies working toward developing sustainable livelihoods for people. Working with 70 remote communities

4 The situation for Aboriginal Australians (Productivity Commission 2009) Life expectancy –Gap 12 years for males and 10 years for females Young child mortality –Gap improved slightly, but remain 3 times below non- Aboriginal Australians Reading, writing and numeracy –Gap widens over time, and as the degree of remoteness increases. Year 12 attainment –Gap of 50% below non-Indigenous 19 year olds Employment –Participation rate lower, and the unemployment rate higher

5 Aboriginal people in the NT July 2007 Federal Government –NT Emergency Response (NTER) –the ‘Intervention’ October 2006 – July 2008 NT Government –Introduction of 8 new Shires July 2007 Local Government –Alcohol Laws restricting public drinking in NT –‘dry towns’

6 Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) October 2007 NTER was carried out in prescribed areas in the Northern Territory encompasses more than 500 Aboriginal communities: 73 of the larger settlements were targeted for intense application of NTER measures. Over 70 per cent of Aboriginal people in the NT live within prescribed areas. NTER measures directly affect approximately 45,500 Aboriginal men, women and children.

7 Imagine… You are an Aboriginal grandmother living in a prescribed remote community in the Northern Territory… You have grandchildren … Some go to school … You were a health worker before you retired You live in and pay rent for an overcrowded house that is not properly maintained You have only one public phone box in the community and it is often broken Where you shop & what you want to buy is controlled

8 As an Aboriginal woman… You have grown up learning about your land, the law and your culture You teach your grandchildren about their family, ancestors and country You are strong in your traditional language You are a strong member of your family

9 The Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) Impact –Half your money is quarantined into an Income Management system –Your movements are managed –Your grandchildren’s school lunch is compulsory –Where you shop is restricted –You are given a BasicsCard

10 BasicsCard Reality: –You do not have more choice as not all stores where you want to spend are approved or are in your home location –You can only buy food, clothing, medicine, basic household items –You cannot spend at a second hand store and save money –You cannot use your BasicsCard for cash out, lay-by or book-up –You cannot spend more than $800 per day

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12 The challenge of Closing the Gaps… Requires a shift in community attitudes from a deficit model to a model supportive of: -good communication, -choice and informed consent -open negotiation of the best way forward -understanding that this will take time

13 Aboriginal Knowledge and Intellectual Protocol Community Guide Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi

14 Good research checklist It’s OK for me to work on this research. This research is OK with the community. I am working with the visiting researcher. I am getting paid. I know the research will be useful. I know the research will make a difference. I know that I will get copies of the research. I am being listened to. I am being respected. We have made a research agreement.

15 Elements of successful initiatives Attitude –Influenced by the goals, motivation and personal commitment of the Aboriginal people Resources –Availability and access to resources –Time – to plan, build genuine relationships, reflect and learn – Process –Development of local capacity where ever possible, and support providers knowing when to move on from dependence to independence

16 New pathways to a shared future Genuine engagement with Aboriginal people On-the-ground programs that will fast-track economic participation Effective two way communication of to targeted stakeholders and end-users

17 Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre


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