11 April 2018
Investments in Indigenous Land and Sea Management Programs (ILSMPs) are growing, both in Australia and internationally. While these programs aim to generate environmental benefits, they also generate many social, cultural and economic benefits. The values of these co-benefits are being investigated in a Hub project led by Prof Natalie Stoeckl of James Cook University. One objective of this research is to increase our understanding of the regional economic impact of ILSMP expenditure by government and NGOs. This part of the investigation has been led by Dr Diane Jarvis and is the focus of a recent policy note based on a journal article (in review). The research highlights that ILSMPs make a significant contribution to the economies of the Kimberley, NT and Far North Qld, with the $80m of ILSMP expenditure during 2014-15 generating an additional $106m of knock-on benefits. ILSMPs in the north can help ‘close the gap’, with more per-capita benefits flowing to Indigenous households than non-Indigenous households. These benefits can be enhanced by encouraging ILSMP managers to use locally based, Indigenous-owned businesses where possible and to hire Indigenous people at all levels. This research is showing that, far from there being a trade-off between socio-ecological and financial/economic goals, ILSMPs – known for their ecological importance – also have a vitally important contribution to make to the economic development of northern Australia.
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