Archive for October, 2007


Linking the IK economy to responsibility

In recent years there has been substantial debate regarding the roles of rights and responsibilities in indigenous related policy.  It is said that the nominal left are firm in their standing on rights whilst the nominal right stand with the need for greater responsibility. 

In one part the debate promoting responsibilities concerns the furthering of economic responsibilities: greater home ownership, replacing communal land title with private (mainstream) rental arrangements and ownership, emphasising private investment, removing the perverse use of cash welfare payments.  I support this general direction, but only if the policy architecture across a whole range of areas is adequate. 

One of these areas is employment and active engagement with the labour market.  One area of concern is the structural detachment of the labour market and Indigenous labour supply.  The IK economy assists in addressing this structural deficiency. 

An important opportunity, though, is the possibility of linking the IK economy with greater economic responsibility.  That is, where Governments provide funds on the basis of valuing indigenous knowledge as a resource, it can have greater leverage in determining the flow-on of that income to economically responsible outcomes.  Such outcomes include home ownership, asset accumulation, education investment, business investment, et cetera. 


Flannery and Geothermal technology

Today’s Centralian Advocate produced a story about Tim Flannery and his suggestion of a central facility located in the Central Australian desert based on the use of geothermal technology.  The facility would provide energy to other parts of Australia and would serve as a base for the processing of minerals.

There are several exploration companies searching for appropriate locations to use this kind of technology.  One prominent location is in South Australia, but apparently there are large quantities of land that could potentially be used for thispurpose.

Given its existing services and base, the railway line and proximity to the ports near Asia, if a location could be found close to Alice Springs then this location would be ideal. 

As a solar city, the town of Alice could be complimented in several ways if it could serve as an energy hub for the processing of minerals from across Australia and energy supply to regions where it is in demand.  


Uluru / Kata Tjuta

When I was young my father worked as a Park Ranger at Uluru / Kata Tjuta National Park.  Our house was tucked behind the community of Mutitjulu, near the shades of the rock.  At the back of our house was a sand dune.  It was one of those hills that you run down when you’re young and the speed carries you.

I remember at the time seeing rain on the rock, and how the clouds hung low with water flowing down the naturally formed contours.  It was one of those occasions where a memory connects to emotion for a first time.  I remember being with my family not far away, and how mum and dad were observing the marvel and beauty.   

In relation to the rock in general I didn’t have the breadth of knowledge of the world to quantify its significance.  Last year I returned for a visit.  It is a truly unique place.  Words can’t describe.  Photographs can’t do justice. 

Given the stretch of desert that covers this earth, and how big each particle of sand is, it is amazing to consider why this monolith is so unique.  There are many majestic places on earth, but most have their equivalents or at least part-equivalents.  Uluru appears to be on its own. 


Henderson and Territory education

The NT Minister for Education, Paul Henderson, was interviewed on Stateline recently (trasncript here).

His estimate, using Government figures, is that around 2000 school-aged young people in the Territory are not enrolled and are not attending school.  The NT Education Union estimates 7000.   

Economic and regional development is nominally organised around concepts of infrastructure, business investment, employment, et cetera.  The NT truancy rate represents the greatest medium and long-term economic and social challenge of any jurisdiction in Australia.   And it is not just active engagement in education that is the issue, but engagement on a merit-based level. 

If some years down the track we can look back at the present focus in indigenous affairs and say that one element has been a resounding success, and if it is in the area of addressing truancy and enabling merit-based education engagement, then the future will be a positive turn-around for many people and their families.


Three foundations of development

Recently I posted in reference to a speech by the Secretary to the Treasurer, Dr Ken Henry. 

Dr Henry states that development is underpinned by three foundations: (1) positive incentives; (2) human capital; and (3) engagement of local people to the design of policy.  These are three seperate but inter-dependent foundations.

My views are over the fold.

Continue reading ‘Three foundations of development’


Aboriginal employment reform: the American Indian experience

In light of significant reform to Aboriginal welfare and employment policy it is necessary to examine evidence-based approaches in similiar jurisdictions.  

Whist undertaking these approaches deserves closer comparison, a glimpse at research reports in similiar jurisdictions may shed light on potential risks. 

More over the fold. 

Continue reading ‘Aboriginal employment reform: the American Indian experience’


Natures signs of change

One of the joys of driving to Darwin from Alice is the opportunity to visit Nanna and Pop at Noonamah, in the rural area.  After a 1500km trip this final stop symbolises the end of a safe journey.  It is a trip where you can see the landscape change from semi-arid desert to tropical. 

Pop was telling me how they have had a cold dry season, and how a certain type of tree cannot live in the temperatures they received this year.  This species simply died.  He told me how a tree not far from his house started flowering, then stopped, then flowered some time after.

On the third day I am here the news reported 40+ temperatures in Alice Springs – the earliest 40+ since records were created, some two weeks before the previuos record.  These observations pale in comparison to some of the more impactful changes occuring around the world, but they demonstrate how every person is now affected.

October 2007
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