Despite the potential for government employment policies to influence the rate and incidence of migration among the Aboriginal workforce, little is known about the extent to which such policy impacts occur. This paper seeks to construct a base line for identifying these impacts by establishing the spatial structure of labour migration among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. It makes use of 1986 Census data to describe the volume and pattern of net and gross flows of working age Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders through the national settlement system. Significant differences are found between the spatial structure of movements occurring within remote areas as opposed to those taking place within closely settled parts of the country. It is suggested that the geography of the Commonwealth Employment Service network may partly serve to reinforce this variation. Whether changes in Aboriginal employment policy in the late 1980s have sustained, exaggerated or reversed the migration patterns revealed here awaits comparison with 1991 Census results.
ISBN: 0 7315 1304 5