Indigenous Stock Exchange
Home About Us Trading Floors Resources Forums

NT INTERVENTION : WHAT HAPPENED TO OUTCOMES?

Posted by PeterLain 
NT INTERVENTION : WHAT HAPPENED TO OUTCOMES?
July 12, 2012 04:36PM
NT INTERVENTION : WHAT HAPPENED TO OUTCOMES?

Professor Jon Altman of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research writes:

CLOSING THE GAP, INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES, NORTHERN TERRITORY EMERGENCY RESPONSE, NT INTERVENTION

The fifth anniversary of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Intervention ticked over Tuesday. It was supposed to be "liberation" day for prescribed communities in the Northern Territory, by now supposedly "stabilised, normalised and exited".

Instead it was another day of shame for the many Aboriginal people who are demeaned and humiliated by intervention measures and resent such "special" treatment.

On the eve of this anniversary, the Australian government strategically released its latest Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory Monitoring Report for the period July to December 2011. Instead of telling us about some appalling outcomes in this report, particularly in the area of escalating reported self harm and suicide since the intervention, the accompanying ministerial media release told us about more jobs and job opportunities for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory (failing to tell us about thousands of job losses).

Not one mainstream media outlet focused on the anniversary. Instead, probably quite coincidentally, the Australian Bureau of Statistics issued first release data from the 2011 Census. This revealed anunexpected 20% increase in the indigenous population since 2006 interpreted by some as reflecting an "apology effect", indigenous people are apparently now so relaxed and comfortable in multicultural Australia that they are more willing to identify.

Such an increase was not evident in the NT where the population grew by only 5.8%, an increase of just over 1% per annum that probably does not even capture natural increase.

I have been pointing out for some time now that the National Partnership Agreement to Close the Gap in the Northern Territory signed between the Australian and NT governments in July 2009 is just a wicked misnomer for the intervention. It is a policy framework whose regular six monthly monitoring reports make no attempt to statistically assess whether gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous Territorians, which the oft-repeated mantra "Closing the Gap" imply, have been closed.

I must say that I am somewhat sceptical about the notion of "closing gaps", mainly because I see such terminology as privileging western norms, values and social indicators over what might actually matter to Aboriginal people. Such discourse reflects a particular form of cultural hegemony that is deeply concerning, feeding as it does non-indigenous notions of cultural superiority that are all too prevalent in Australian society today.

Lest it appear that I lack reflexivity, let me make it quite clear that I have used social indicator comparative measures myself on many occasions in the past for two key reasons. But I prefer the notion of difference according to mainstream social indicators to the potentially offensive "gaps".

First, social indicators from the census provide as good a statistical basis for holding the state accountable for its performance -- according to its normative criteria -- as currently exists. This is particularly the case because official statistics collected by the ABS have a degree of independence from government and so are somewhat better than the government’s own assessment of its performance.

Second, official census statistics are a sound basis for assessing certain needs, like housing, and to assist in the calculation of equitable needs-based support. Calculating differences between social groups in Australian society can assist estimation of the quantum of funding required to address need, but is of limited help for assessing sustained outcomes.

In last month’s Crikey I noted that a judgment day will come when 2011 Census data are available and some forms of objective assessment will be possible of the government’s approach using its own criteria of success.

With time, there will be careful and transparent analysis of first release (June 2012) and second release (October 2012) census data, prescribed community by prescribed community, priority community by priority community, Territory Growth Town by Territory Growth Town.

A sense of the forthcoming analytic deluge can be demonstrated with my early assessment of changes in a handful of available social indicators in the NT. I do this here with two tables of comparable statistical evidence from the 2006 and 2011 Censuses with apologies to anyone who might be offended by the reduction of people to numbers and percentages.

The first table looks at absolute change for two income variables (adjusted for inflation), two education, one demographic, three housing and a cultural variable.

Table 1: Indigenous outcomes in the Northern Territory, 2006 and 2011.
Indigenous

outcome 2006 outcome 2011

Median personal income $248 $269
Median household income $965 $1098
Completed year 12 10.0% 14.7%
Attending university, other tertiary 1.3% 1.3%
Population 65 years plus 3.2% 3.4%
Home ownership rate 11.2% 12.2%
Average number of people per bedroom 1.8 1.7
Average household size 4.5 4.2
Indigenous language spoken at home 60.3% 65.1%

Information in the table shows is that in absolute terms most things have incrementally improved: median income has inched up, the year 12 completion rate has increased, university attendance has remained stable, the proportion of the population aged over 65 years has grown marginally, and home ownership has increased, while overcrowding and household size have declined. Interestingly, even a cultural variable "indigenous language spoken at home" has increased.

Some difference, like in home ownership, can be partly explained by the nature of land tenure, while others like overcrowding reflect insufficient provision of community, now public, housing. Other differences in median individual and household income (with the latter understated owing to very different household size) reflect lack of economic opportunity, poverty and non recognition in the census of non-monetary income.

This all looks like good news for current policy settings -- at least nothing appears to be going backwards in absolute terms.



“THIS POSTING IS PROVIDED TO THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF THIS GROUP WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT OWNER FOR PURPOSES OF CRITICISM, COMMENT, SCHOLARSHIP AND RESEARCH UNDER THE "FAIR USE" PROVISIONS OF THE FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAWS AND IT MAY NOT BE DISTRIBUTED FURTHER WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT OWNER, EXCEPT FOR "FAIR USE."
Author:

Subject:


Spam prevention:
Please, enter the code that you see below in the input field. This is for blocking bots that try to post this form automatically. If the code is hard to read, then just try to guess it right. If you enter the wrong code, a new image is created and you get another chance to enter it right.
CAPTCHA
Message:
This is a moderated forum. Your message will remain hidden until it has been approved by a moderator or administrator

Feedback | Privacy< /a> | Contact Us  &nbs p;

© 2013 BAMA ISX

The ISX is not a financial market and does not sell or trade financial products of any kind.

This site is proudly created by Social Change Online