Other views of northern Australian aspirations: Pre-notions, ideologies and remoteness

Other views of northern Australian aspirations: Pre-notions, ideologies and remoteness Book Section

Leading from the North: Rethinking Northern Australia Development

  • Author(s): Lovell, Judith, Zoellner, Don
  • Secondary Author(s): Wallace, Ruth, Harwood, Sharon, Gerritsen, Rolf, Prideaux, Bruce, Brewer, Tom, Rosenman, Linda, Dale, Alan
  • Published: 2021
  • Publisher: ANU Press
  • ISBN: (print): 9781760464424 (online): 9781760464431

Abstract: This chapter explores ideology and remoteness through the configuration of markets and non-markets that operate in a sparsely settled region in Northern Australia. As non-Indigenous researchers analysing data from Aboriginal settlements, we acknowledge the primary and overarching configuration in these settlements is Aboriginal sovereignty and the standpoints of local residents and custodians (Ardill, 2013; Morrison, 2015; Nakata, 2007). A previous study of 15 remote Aboriginal settlements in the region (see Figure 8.1) revealed that certain mixed-market activities (aboriginal art centres, Indigenous ranger programs and Aboriginal community researchers) have remained active and produced socioeconomic benefits to residents over time. This is despite ideological shifts that are evident in public policy and national data analysis. Non-markets are a category that includes governments, charities, not-for-profits and philanthropies. Non-markets exist when inputs are un-costed (Wolf, 1993). These institutions seek the equitable distribution of social and economic benefits in sectors where markets have failed or are not active (Wolf, 1993, p. 6). Markets are places where goods and services are openly traded and are priced. This chapter uses these terms in preference to the dualistic public versus private categorisation, which have severe conceptual limitations when describing the socioeconomics of these settlements (see Chapter 9). Mixed-markets are conceived as the mesh in which market and non-market traits interact along with customary forms of socioeconomic activity. In terms of the public data available to inform policy about remote economic participation, the sources of national data lack the definition required to accurately describe or interpret the impacts of mixed-markets at settlement level (Lovell et al., 2015b, p. 10). Mixed-market activity shares features of socioeconomic benefit with social enterprises in other countries (Lovell et al., 2016). In two advanced market democracies, Canada and Australia, the constraints of national quantitative data and the lack of typological qualitative definition (McMurtry & Brouard, 2015; Sengupta et al., 2015) have prevented useful distinctions between social enterprises as market, mixed-market or non-market models. These constraints ignore evidence of historic context and other points of difference, such as culture and gender (Sengupta et al., 2015, p. 110), which distinguish settlement-level economic activity otherwise absent in the national data. The effect within the broad categories of market, non-market and Canadian Indigenous social enterprise (Sengupta et al., 2015) is that little information is available to contribute to understanding the agency required by local entrepreneurs (Pearson & Daff, 2014) or the usefulness of models of enterprise available under current legislation (Sengupta et al., 2015). Due to the constraints in remote population data and methodology, residents of sparsely populated regions experience unintended consequences of policy interventions in ways seldom experienced by larger populations of urban residents.Analysis of the national and industry data available (see Chapter 9) suggested non-market interventions may have worked against the intended outcomes of policy in some of the remote settlements in the study area in Australia. There is evidence that non-markets failed to produce the intended equitable distribution of financial or social capital among employed residents in the study region. There were lower rates of Indigenous employment and lower average incomes for Indigenous residents in 2011 than in 2006 (ABS, 2012). The following points consider the configurations of ideology and remoteness that underpin conceptualisation of remote socioeconomic activity. Different and sometimes competing configurations are present, which, if unacknowledged, reduce opportunities for everyday market and mixed-market activity.

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Suggested Citation
Lovell, Judith, Zoellner, Don, 2021, Other views of northern Australian aspirations: Pre-notions, ideologies and remoteness, Book Section, viewed 30 November 2021, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=26818.

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