Abstract

There is significant evidence that culture-aligned economies are more effective in engaging remote-living Indigenous Australians in work long-term. Despite this evidence, governments remain resistant to investing substantially in these economies, with the result that low employment rates persist. This article argues that governmental systems of organisation are not designed to support non-mainstream economies and this position is unlikely to change. Similarly, the commercial sector lacks confidence that investing in culture-aligned economies will generate financial returns. This article presents a localised, pragmatic approach to Indigenous business support that works within existing systems of government, business and culture. Most unsuccessful programs fail to recognise the full suite of critical factors for sustained market engagement by both business and Indigenous people. This article reports on work to bring all critical factors together into a business support framework to inform the design and implementation of an aquaculture development program in a remote Indigenous Australian community.

Acknowledgments

The author wishes to express her gratitude to the people of Warruwi community for their participation and support, in particular Jenny Inmulugulu and Bunug Galaminda. Also key partnership colleagues Wayne Tupper, Will Bowman, Luke Turner, Linda Ford, Lisa Petheram, Daniel Costa, Chadd Mumme, Owen Stanley, Ziko Ilac, Andrew Bates, Natasha Stacey and in particular my dedicated staff at the Darwin Aquaculture Centre and my supervisor Glenn Schipp. Thank you to Jim Grant for invaluable guidance and discussion on systems thinking. I thank colleagues, particularly Julian Gorman, for valuable feedback that improved the paper. This work was funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (Project Number 2010/205).

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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