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The Australian National University

‘You got any Truck?’ Vehicles and decentralised mobile service-provision in remote Indigenous Australia

Working Paper 30 / 2005


Service provision in remote Indigenous Australia is highly dependent on vehicle availability and profoundly affected by usage constraints. This paper seeks to explore elements of conflict and points of alignment in the intercultural exchange between service providers and those Indigenous people dependent on vehicles for service provision. Drawing on the example of education provision to remote homelands in the Arnhem Land area of the Northern Territory, as well as existing literature of ownership and exchange in Indigenous Australia, the paper outlines a re-alignment of service provision using a decentralised, mobile model of delivery. Based on these case studies, the paper proposes a rethinking of the importance of transport in program implementation and the resulting outcomes, and the relationship between this and Indigenous lifestyle and cultural imperatives. This paper is based on extensive experience in Indigenous education and policy, the bulk of this living and working with the Kuninjku, Djinang, Burarra, Kune and Rembarrnga peoples in the homelands surrounding Maningrida in Arnhem Land.

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