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Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development in Australia

image of Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development in Australia

There are approximately 800,000 Indigenous Australians, which is 3.3% of Australia’s total population. Indigenous Australians are custodians of the world’s oldest living continuous culture and make a vital contribution to contemporary Australian society. Indigenous Australians are also important for the future of the national economy. For example, the amount of land with Indigenous ownership and interest has increased significantly in the last 50 years and now covers approximately half of Australia’s land mass. Indigenous Australians play an important role in the development of regional economies. Compared to the non-Indigenous population, Indigenous peoples are more likely to be located in predominantly rural regions. However, significant gaps in socio-economic outcomes with non-Indigenous Australians remain and these gaps are larger in rural regions. The report provides three key recommendations to improve economic outcomes for Indigenous Australians: improving the quality of the statistical framework and the inclusion of Indigenous peoples in the governance of data; promoting entrepreneurship to provide opportunities for Indigenous peoples to use assets and resources in ways that align with their objectives for development; and, implementing an approach to policies that is adapted to places, and empowers Indigenous institutions and communities.

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Implementing a place-based approach to economic development that empowers Indigenous Australians

The objective of this chapter is to assess and provide recommendations about supporting the implementation of a place-based approach to Indigenous economic development. The chapter begins by explaining why a place-based approached is central to supporting Indigenous economic development. The following sections discuss three key elements for the effective governance of place-based Indigenous development. These include capacity, skills and networks embedded in local and regional Indigenous institutions, the existence of formal and informal mechanisms that enable local Indigenous institutions to deliver economic development solutions in collaboration with other actors and possibilities for Indigenous institutions to influence policies with different levels of government. The chapter then offers recommendations on how these elements could be supported at both the national and sub-national levels.

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