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Bureaucratic Ego and Aboriginal Unemployment

  • Year: 2006
  • Author: Cutcliffe, Tony
  • Journal Name: Institute of Public Affairs Review: A Quarterly Review of Politics and Public Affairs, The
  • Journal Number: Vol. 58, No. 2
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: Victoria

This article argues that the failure of policy from all shades and levels of government is obvious in relation to Aboriginal unemployment. It is manifest in the Federal Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) regarding Aboriginal employment initiatives. The example is provided of the Department's handling of Aboriginal unemployment in the Goulburn Valley, based around Shepparton, home to Victoria's largest Aboriginal community outside Melbourne. With around 6 per cent unemployment, Shepparton is approaching what is generally accepted as full employment. Why is it, then, that the region's 6,000 Aboriginal people, representing a tenth of the total population, are living with almost 80 per cent unemployment? How is it that these catastrophic unemployment levels, and their endemic costs and consequences, haven't raised an outcry in Cabinet? The author argues that the Department has devised unemployment strategies in total isolation of the on-ground reality in Shepparton, and in increasing denial of the present failure.

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