The simulated estimates of Indigenous labour force status used in this paper are based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics projections of Indigenous population to the year 2000 and several reasonable assumptions about the growth in demand for Indigenous labour. The reliance of Indigenous workforce on the continued growth of the Community Development Employment Projects scheme is highlighted by the likely falls in the employment/population ratio and the large increases in unemployment that will result from any budget-induced curtailment of the scheme's growth. The key dynamic of these simulations is the rapidly growing working-age population. The other prominent factor underlying the results is the ongoing disadvantage of the Indigenous labour force including: poor educational attainment, high arrest rates, low life expectancy and locational disadvantage. One of the major challenges for policy makers within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and other government portfolios will be to quickly find alternatives and more permanent means of creating opportunities for new entrants to the Indigenous workforce.
ISBN: 0 7315 1793 8