Report: Aboriginal run projects have more benefits

Tom Nightingale ABC News 22nd December, 2010

An Australian National University report argues Indigenous people are less likely to benefit from current government policies that do not empower Aboriginal groups.

Academics at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research compared community development in remote areas with four projects run with local control in Central Australia.

They found projects run by the Central Land Council showed a better chance of creating ongoing community benefits.

The centre's Dr Janet Hunt says the current government approach does not work as well.

"My understand is that they [the Central Land Council] believe that if Aboriginal people are able to articulate their aspirations and then pursue them effectively, then lives will improve.

"And we have some evidence of that in the work that they're currently doing."

Community Development in Central Australia:
Broadening the Benefits from Land Use Agreements

Janet Hunt and Danielle Campbell Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research December 2010

Discussions are currently underway as to how to enable Indigenous people to optimise benefits from native title agreements or Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs). Research on a range of agreements between Indigenous people and extractive industries suggests that equitable benefits from such activity on Indigenous land are rare. In Central Australia the Central Land Council has piloted a new approach to generating benefits from land use agreements by establishing a Community Development Unit and encouraging traditional owners to incorporate funding for community development activities into their land use agreements. This paper discusses the variety of community development projects this unit is undertaking with traditional owners, and the challenges it is facing as it tries to utilise community development principles in its projects. It indicates some of the issues that may need to be considered in policy which seeks to assist native title holders gain optimum benefit from their ILUAs. In particular, the paper will demonstrate that the priorities of Indigenous people to live on outstations and to sustain cultural activities may conflict with government views as to how to 'optimise benefits’ from ILUAs.

More benefits to more people

Report: Central Land Council: Community Development in Central Australia, June 2009

Recently the Central Land Council Executive wrote to the traditional owners involved in one of the Land Council’s community development projects to congratulate them on their consistent good use of their own money from land use agreements.

"You should be proud of what you have already achieved in a relatively short time," the Executive wrote. "We have been impressed with the consultations you and your communities have been part of and the wise decisions that have come out of your meetings."

Since 2005 the Land Council has been working closely with Aboriginal traditional owners and communities to use royalty, rent and affected area payments from land use agreements on community development projects that last. The following pages show some examples of what Aboriginal people have achieved using their own money.

A way of working which starts with Aboriginal people making the main decisions is behind these many achievements. That’s because their participation in decisions and ownership of the activities that follow is essential to make sure development actually leads to wide community benefit, and so the achievements continue and last.

Benefit is built on what traditional owners and other Aboriginal community members know are the best ways to tackle the problems and make the most of the opportunities they now face. Local knowledge about what’s likely to work is joined together with ideas and experiences from other places and other people. These ideas are worked into strong local or regional project plans.

The management or governance of each of the large regional community development projects the Land Council is running, such as the Warlpiri Education and Training Trust and the Uluru Rent Money Community Development Project, is made to fit the different people, places and priorities involved as much as possible.

Good governance helps make sure what is planned in communities really happens with the large amounts of money involved. It keeps the y safe. And it helps teach good community management.

This community development work follows some of the ways the Land Council has been working closely with Aboriginal people for many years. It follows up on the success of land claims and the agreements the Land Council has made for traditional owners with others using the land.

The focus of this community development work through Land Council’s Community Development Unit is to get lasting community benefits from the money these agreements pay to Aboriginal people. The Unit has prepared a Community Development Framework to guide the Land Council in this work into the future. And the Unit takes regular general advice from a community development reference group of experts. Reference group member Janet Hunt from the Australian National University commented recently on the difficulty of the Land Council’s community development work. "You are doing a great job on a big and tricky workload over a really large area," she told the Land Council’s Community Development Unit staff.

Last year Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin said of royalty payments: "There is the potential for millions of dollars to be harnessed for the economic and social advancement of native title holders, claimants and their communities. We must not allow this potential to go unrealized" ...

Projects Runs by Aboriginal control are Better in Shape

Danny Garcia Top News US 22nd December 2010

Current government policies that do not grant strength to Aboriginal groups are less likely to benefit indigenous groups, said an Australian National University report released recently.

Academics at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research carried an explicit comparison of the community development in remote areas with four projects under the guidance of local authorities in Central Australia.

The comparison showed that projects under the control of Central Land Council are much better and stand at a significantly higher likeliness of forming ongoing community benefits.

"My understanding is that they [the Central Land Council] believe that if Aboriginal people are able to articulate their aspirations and then pursue them effectively, then lives will improve", Dr. Janet Hunt from the center was quoted as saying. "And we have some evidence of that in the work that they're currently doing".

He added that the government approach that is presently being practised does not work as well.

Study proves income quarantining has failed

Impact of income management on store sales in the Northern Territory
Conclusion: Income management independent of the government stimulus payment appears to have had no beneficial effect on tobacco and cigarette sales, soft drink or fruit and vegetable sales.

Graph Details
Three month rolling average per capita sales for store sales, total food and drink sales, fruit and vegetables, soft drink and cigarette and tobacco, for Arnham Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation stores combined, 1st October 2006 to 30th September 2009.

The introduction of income management occurred in one the study communities at the 19th month, as shown, and commenced in the other nine communities in the subsequent 3 months.

The Medical Journal of Australia

Medical Journal Australia - After the Intervention: Research www.mja.com.au

After the Intervention - Research Report