I have always felt the term “socio-economic” is completely arse about.
I enjoyed this post and also some of the subtly challenging and well informed comments that it is generating.
It’s an important topic. A large portion of Indigenous Australians (46%) live nowhere near cities (source ABS census).
- 22% lived in outer regional areas
- 9% lived in remote areas
- 15% lived in very remote areas.
But let’s boil this down a bit. and I’ll start with a definition.
“Economic” – the production, distribution, and use of income, wealth, and commodities.
Go back only a few hundred years and every Indigenous community was fully economic. Every community would have been made up of those that were innovative and driven, those that were average citizens, some shirkers, some free loaders, some criminals, some with disabilities, the elderly that needed supporting etc etc. I’ve been lucky enough to live and work within such communities, made more interesting in that have had zero access to / knowledge of / need for public services, external welfare or external governance….and operated just fine even if not affluent by western standards.
A few hundred years ago across the whole of Australia, the elders and emerging elders that provided governance within communities did not have to try and create a Nirvana, but maintained a balance. When they ultimately took action on issues…..everyone took real good notice, jumped into line, or were shown the door….or worse.
It is the economic fabric that determines the quality of the social fabric of a society. Same for a city borne and bred slicker as it is for a Kalahari bushman. A simple example….look at what happens in “modern white society” when there is economic downturn….the social fabric tears real quick. Mental health, crime, drugs, alcohol, welfare, violence, divorce….shall I go on?
Ironically, that was part of the reason why Australia was colonised….there was some serious economic and therefore social issues in England that needed sorting out…with lots of sailing ships. Much of western Europe was “in the same boat” on the back of economic upheaval, famine, disease, war and empire building.
There is definitely solutions for these remote Australian communities, even those not on traditional lands where traditional economics and governance has been broken. Sure every situation is different, but I’m sure there are some amazing case studies around Australia in relation to both remote communities on traditional lands, and off traditional lands. Who’s got one? Share!
Economics today, even in a remote Indigenous community, Will benefit from modern business nous and principals.
Who would be best qualified to help a community with some discussions, planning and heavy lifting around economic development?
I do it in my work and see the benefits and potential.
But how about the thousands of young or experienced professionals that have a blood connection to such communities, but have lived in a city most or all of their lives? Whether self employed with freedom of choice, an employee with a very deadly boss, or a student with a big vision, imagine the massive potential for them to be part of remote Indigenous economic-social development on theirs and other mob’s country. Mind boggling potential.
BlueSkyED is modelling a framework whereby this could happen…across the entire country.
The modelling has included researching anything similar in place or in the past….I can’t find anything. Correct me if I’m wrong, and you are very welcome to contact me on the topic as things move forward.