Indigenous Livelihoods: Background paper
North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA) for
Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) and the National Water Commission (NWC), 2012
About this publication
Indigenous people in northern Australia appear well-placed to develop rewarding livelihoods based on renewable natural resources. They have title to large areas of land and associated waters, in regions where resources have not been excessively depleted and landscapes remain structurally intact. Indeed, many continue to depend on customary harvest for a significant part of their "income". But in regional and remote areas, sustainable livelihoods based on interactions with the cash economy, whether through paid employment or development of Indigenous enterprise, have proved problematic.
A review of related literature found few outstanding examples of unambiguously successful enterprises based on use or management of renewable resources that do not depend substantially on public funding. Comprehensive and robust statistical information on Indigenous employment in land and resource management has yet to be collected, but favourable employment outcomes appear to have been achieved mostly with government-funded "caring for country" work.
Note: This report was jointly funded by the National Water Commission and the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Australian Government or the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the contents of this publication are factually correct, the Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the contents, and shall not be liable for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the contents of this publication.