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Engaging with Indigenous Australians: principles, practices and learnings

  • Year: 2005
  • Author: Hampshire, Anne; Lawton, Jane
  • Journal Name: Australian Social Policy Conference
  • Publisher: Social Policy Research Centre
  • Published Location: Sydney, NSW
  • Country: Australia

Many mainstream non-government organisations committed to enhancing the wellbeing of Australians want to more positively engage with Indigenous Australians. But 'good intentions' do not guarantee that, at the very least, no damage is done through such engagement. This paper explores some of the principles and practices which underpin positive engagement. It shares some of the findings of a national survey of managers of Mission Australia, a large mainstream organisation, which sought views on current and future engagement with Indigenous Australians. Two current case studies are used to identify some of the principles of positive engagement, explore some of the practical components of such engagement and to share the learnings and reflections to date. The first case study is Koori Link, a community service program in the regional city of Orange, New South Wales; the second is a range of employment and training initiatives operating on the islands close to metropolitan Brisbane.

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