Building co-existence through diversifying Indigenous livelihoods on country: Current research and future prospects

Thursday, 7 June 2018
Dr Marcus Barber
Cathy Robinson

Indigenous traditional owners have increasing control over land and natural resources and have articulated clear objectives for sustainable and diversified social and economic development. This presentation outlines pathways for research to enable that process. It draws on CSIRO collaborative and co-research projects undertaken with Indigenous communities from the Pilbara to Cape York. This work focuses on key issues for sustainable development: local Indigenous enterprises and livelihoods; economic mapping and land use transitions; scoping participation in emerging markets; the benefits of cultural and natural resource management; and Indigenous perspectives on and participation in larger-scale, externally-generated development initiatives. Enabled by appropriate government support, novel partnerships between Indigenous communities, research agencies, private industry, and non-government organisations are building co-existence opportunities on the ground. These can: scale up local livelihood success stories; provide the underpinning science to support Indigenous entrepreneurship; empower Indigenous participation in major development initiatives; and identify ‘win-win’ outcomes in natural and cultural resource management. Research can also enhance the profile of Indigenous cultural connections underlying the community wellbeing necessary for successful co-existence. CSIRO has a growing profile with the nation’s First Australians as a science provider, research partner, and employer. This presentation highlights current successes, key issues, and future possibilities.