Empowering Indigenous communities? A review of the NT Emergency Response

Miller, Daniel J., and Li, Wendy (2013) Empowering Indigenous communities? A review of the NT Emergency Response. In: Presentations from the Sustainable International Leadership in Indigenous Research Conference. From: Sustainable International Leadership in Indigenous Research Conference: pathways, potential and practice, 9-10 July 2013, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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In 2007 the Australian federal government enacted a series of emergency measures to deal with the numerous social problems associated with remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. Employing the concept of empowerment, this paper reviews the measures enacted as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER), reflecting on their potential psychological impacts and likely effectiveness. It is argued that the lack of community consultation in the design and implementation of the NTER was generally disempowering for the communities involved, as were some of the specific measures enacted, e.g., community wide alcohol bans. Such measures were disempowering because they restricted community autonomy and self-governance. These measurements were also problematic because they reduced the collective self-efficacy of the communities involved. The concept of self-efficacy refers to one's belief in their ability to execute certain tasks and achieve specific goals. Research indicates that self-efficacy level is predictive of positive behaviour adoption and maintenance, especially in terms of health-related behaviours. It is argued that imposing measures upon communities with little community consultation would likely reduce collective self-efficacy by painting the relevant communities as helpless, with little to no ability to reduce their own social problems. Lower levels of self-efficacy would reduce individuals' willingness to engage in behaviour change programmes, like those enacted as part of the NTER. This paper advocates for respectful partnership when working with communities to ensure that communities receive the services that they need and want and that collective self-efficacy levels are not undermined.

Item ID: 28076
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
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Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2014 00:17
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 70%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 30%
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