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Indigenous Families, Welfare and Work: Survey Results from Two Community Case Studies


  • Diane Smith

    () (The Australian National University)

  • Anne Daly

    (University of Canberra)


Given their ongoing economic disadvantage, many Indigenous families are long-term dependents on social security income support. Their well-being continues to be a critical challenge for government and Indigenous organisations. The paper presents an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from the first year of a longitudinal survey conducted in two Indigenous communities. A range of factors are identified which influence the effectiveness and appropriateness of delivery of income transfers to Indigenous families for the care of their children (focusing on Parenting Payment and Family Allowance). Survey data on the extent of 'welfare dependence' being experienced by Indigenous families are analysed, and the nature of household economies described. The interaction between the Community Development Employment Projects scheme (a work-for-the-dole scheme) and the welfare economies operating within Indigenous households is discussed. In the context of the Federal Government's welfare reform agenda, the paper outlines recommendations for fine-tuning policy and service delivery to address the economic and culturally-based realities facing Indigenous families.

Suggested Citation

  • Diane Smith & Anne Daly, 2000. "Indigenous Families, Welfare and Work: Survey Results from Two Community Case Studies," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 4(2), pages 99-110, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:4:y:2001:i:2:p:99-110

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    More about this item


    Economics of Minorities; Employment Determination; Job Creation; Demand for Labour; Self Employment Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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