Indigenous families and the welfare system: The Yuendumu community case study, Stage Two

Author/editor: Musharbash, Y
Year published: 2001
Issue no.: 217


In 1998, CAEPR commenced research for the Children and Welfare Project, as negotiated with the Indigenous Policy Unit (IPU) of the Department of Family and Community Services (DFACS). The project aims to provide a longitudinal study into the factors influencing the service delivery of social security income support payments to Indigenous families for the care of their children. The results of the first stage community surveys undertaken at Kuranda, Queensland, and Yuendumu, Northern Territory, focused on a sample of households in the two communities and were published in 1999 and 2000. This Discussion Paper presents the findings of the first follow-up survey (referred to as Stage Two) undertaken at Yuendumu, in August and September 2000.

In line with issues raised in the original terms of reference and the earlier stages of the project, the focus is on mobility and consequent changes in membership and composition of households, and the related policy and service delivery issues. The paper presents an ethnographic and statistical exploration of intra-community mobility based on the comparative data available from the two consecutive surveys in 1999 and 2000. It relates mobility to factors underlying everyday life in Yuendumu-the sharing of food, money and other resources within social networks-and the implications of these for policy and the delivery of welfare services.

The paper concludes with further consideration of the recommendations made in the earlier stage of the project. It provides a more detailed elaboration of particular issues related to policy and more appropriate payment structures for Indigenous welfare recipients, and formulates relevant ideas for future action.

ISBN: 0 7315 2652 X

ISSN:1036 1774

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