The formation and evaluation of Aboriginal economic policy is heavily dependent upon data from the five-yearly census of population to establish the relative economic standing of Aboriginal people. This paper provides the first opportunity to assess some of the socioeconomic impacts of policies, such as the Aboriginal Employment Development Policy (AEDP), that were applied during the late 1980s and early 1990s. This is done by using 1991 Census data to describe the current socioeconomic status of the Northern Territory's Aboriginal population and analysing the intercensal change in critical indicators since 1986. Comparison with the non-Aboriginal population is drawn across a range of labour market and other economic indicators and the data are also disaggregated according to geographic location and gender. The results point to mixed policy success. While improvements in Aboriginal labour force status are noted, this is entirely due to increased participation in the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme and is predominantly a rural phenomenon. At the same time, labour force status in urban areas has worsened, while Aboriginal employment is increasingly concentrated into narrower segments of the labour market. The overall goal of raising Aboriginal income status remains elusive due largely to a real relative decline in male incomes.
ISBN: 0 7315 1714 8