Are Indigenous land and sea management programs a pathway to Indigenous economic independence?

Jarvis, Diane, Stoeckl, Natalie, Addison, Jane, Larson, Silva, Hill, Rosemary, Pert, Petina, and Watkin Lui, Felecia (2018) Are Indigenous land and sea management programs a pathway to Indigenous economic independence? The Rangeland Journal, 40 (4). pp. 415-429.

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This paper focuses on Indigenous business development, an under-researched co-benefit associated with investment in Indigenous land and sea management programs (ILSMPs) in northern Australia. More than 65% of ILSMPs undertake commercial activities that generate revenue and create jobs. In addition to generating environmental benefits, ILSMPs thus also generate economic benefits (co-benefits) that support Indigenous aspirations and help to deliver multiple government objectives. We outline key features of northern Australian economies, identifying factors that differentiate them from Western urbanised economies. We discuss literature highlighting that, if the aim is to stimulate (short-term) economic development in northern Indigenous economies, then the requirement is to stimulate demand for goods and services that are produced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (herein referred to as Indigenous people), and which generate benefits that align with the goals and aspirations of Indigenous people. We also discuss literature demonstrating the importance of promoting a socio-cultural environment that stimulates creativity, which is a core driver of innovation, business development and long-term development.

ILSMPs have characteristics suggestive of an ability to kick-start self-sustaining growth cycles, but previous research has not investigated this. Using 8 years of data relating to Indigenous businesses that are registered with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (a subset of all Indigenous businesses), we use statistical tests (Granger causality tests) to check whether ILSMP expenditure in the first year has a positive impact on Indigenous business activity in subsequent years. This analysis (of admittedly imperfect data) produces evidence to support the proposition that expenditure on ILSMPs generates positive spillovers for Indigenous businesses (even those not engaged in land management), albeit with a 3-year lag. ILSMPs have been shown to be an appropriate mechanism for achieving a wide range of short-term benefits; our research suggests they may also work as catalysts for Indigenous business development, fostering sustainable economic independence.

Item ID: 55110
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1834-7541
Keywords: closing the gap; economic development; Indigenous advancement; Indigenous business development; Indigenous land and sea management; self-sustaining economic growth
Copyright Information: Journal compilation © Australian Rangeland Society 2018 Open Access CC BY-NC-ND
Funders: Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program (NESP), James Cook University, Tropical Landscapes Joint Venture
Projects and Grants: NESP project 5.3
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2018 05:23
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 50%
38 ECONOMICS > 3899 Other economics > 389902 Ecological economics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950302 Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage @ 30%
91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9199 Other Economic Framework > 919902 Ecological Economics @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970114 Expanding Knowledge in Economics @ 20%
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