Supporting Indigenous Livelihoods – Appropriate Scales of Governance

Supporting Indigenous Livelihoods – Appropriate Scales of Governance Report

NAILSMA Knowledge Series

  • Author(s): P. Sullivan, C. Stacey, NAILSMA
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd. (NAILSMA)

Abstract: This project was contracted to Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) by the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) and funded by the Commonwealth government’s Northern Australia Water Futures Assessment (NAWFA), a division of the National Water Commission (NWC). The project team has worked within compressed timelines, over an area of considerable geographical reach, and with an ambitious range of subjects to investigate. It aimed to: focus on how well local governments, state governments and the Commonwealth government cooperate together to assist, encourage and support local self-management. If these three levels of government are not working well with the catchment management groups the project will try to understand why. At the end of the project recommendations will be made about how cooperation can be improved and how sustainable employment opportunities can be supported; and produce a report for NAILSMA and the participants that: - describes the representative groups and networks for environmental management in the catchment or locality; - assesses the current ability of these representative groups and networks to actively manage land and water, influence policy, and control development; and - assesses relevant government agencies and their ability to work together, and suggests improvements in their processes. These aims have been achieved through reference to relevant literature illustrated with selected case examples. NAILSMA chose three widely separated river catchments as research sites – Mitchell River (QLD), Daly River (NT) and Fitzroy River (WA). Remoteness and distance precluded fine-grained fieldwork within the timeframe, but visits to Aboriginal ranger groups and regional Aboriginal reference groups or representatives were made in each of the catchment areas. Impressions gained from these visits have informed background analysis of Indigenous public administration and Cultural and Natural Resource Management (CNRM) in this report. The report describes how complexity, volatility and diversity require pragmatic experimentalist adaptive eco-system management at the local and regional scales, within an accountability framework of relational contracting. These terms are discussed in the report. Rather than criticise the duplication and fragmentation of government programs, the report suggests administrative complexity may be supportive of these goals, providing that Aboriginal organisations have appropriate technical support and equipment to deal with it.

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Suggested Citation
P. Sullivan, C. Stacey, NAILSMA, 2012, Supporting Indigenous Livelihoods – Appropriate Scales of Governance, Report, viewed 16 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3149.

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