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The Australian National University

Aboriginal people in the Kakadu region: social indicators for impact assessment

Working Paper 4 / 1999


This research report is the product of a consultancy commissioned by the Northern Land Council (NLC) as part of the preliminary input into the Kakadu Region Social Impact Study (KRSIS) established in 1996 under the auspices of the NLC, the Commonwealth Government, the Northern Territory Government and Energy Resources Australia (ERA). The terms of reference were to provide a statistical profile of the contemporary socioeconomic status of the Aboriginal population of the Kakadu region (defined spatially for the KRSIS as Stages 1 and 2 of Kakadu National Park). Because of the specific focus on generating statistical information, limited reference is made to the literature on the Kakadu region, except where this either provides a source of data or assists in the interpretation of data. For example, a number of key references (Keen 1980a; Altman 1983, 1988; O’Faircheallaigh 1986; Levitus 1991, 1995; Altman and Smith 1990) provide a valuable source of historical data useful in constructing time series.

Bearing in mind the fact that a number of other studies relating to social and economic conditions in the region had been commissioned on behalf of the Kakadu/West Arnhem Gunbang (Alcohol) Action Group (d’Abbs and Jones 1996) and the Kakadu/West Arnhem Employment, Education and Training Group, and also taking into consideration the need to access available data and report within a relatively short timeframe, the scope of the statistical profile was limited to aspects of several key areas of interest. These include, demography, labour force status, education, training, income, welfare, housing, infrastructure and health. For each of these categories, select summary statistics are presented in tabular and graphic format with accompanying text. The aim is to identify and describe the main characteristics of the population and highlight outstanding features in the data. Where possible, and appropriate, comment is also made on the adequacy of coverage and the robustness of available data and comparison is drawn with select control groups of Northern Territory (NT) Aboriginal people as well as with non-Aboriginal Park residents.

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