Indigenous Livelihoods Background Paper

Indigenous Livelihoods Background Paper Report

Background Paper

  • Author(s): Peter Whitehead
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd. (NAILSMA)

Abstract: Indigenous Livelihoods - Background Paper explored and evaluated Indigenous livelihood options and opportunities, identified their barriers and presents recommendations for overcoming them and enabling a greater exploration and utilisation of livelihood options and opportunities on country. It was one of five projects NAILSMA delivered under the NAWFA Cultural and Social Program under the guidance and advice of the NAILSMA Indigenous Water Policy Group (IWPG). The outcomes of this and the other four NAWFA research outputs informs the North Australian Indigenous Experts Forum on sustainable economic development. These projects further justify development of sustainable livelihoods for Indigenous people in the north; the outcomes of these projects present a wider spectrum of recommendations that need to be addressed when discussing northern development to ensure Indigenous livelihoods are appropriately considered. 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.

Notes: ISSN 1837-4166 ISBN 978-0-9808524-7-9

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Suggested Citation
Peter Whitehead, 2012, Indigenous Livelihoods Background Paper, Report, viewed 12 August 2022,

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