Regulating Responsibilities: Income Management, Community Engagement and Bureaucratic Learning at Mapuru, North East Arnhem Land

Stefanie Puszka, John Greatorex, Gregory Williams

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    The blanket implementation of income management in prescribed Indigenous areas under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) and in the absence of community consultation or negotiation processes, was informed by a view of community engagement as preventing action and failing to deliver outcomes. However, the outcomes of income management documented by the authors at Mäpuru, a homeland centre in north east Arnhem Land, demonstrates policy failure as a result of poor policy design and objectives inappropriate to the local context. Outcomes included centralisation, reduced food security and the perpetuation of disengagement and marginalisation. This paper discusses the ramifications of the NTER approach to policy formulation and implementation, arguing that this approach robs policymakers of important opportunities for bureaucratic learning and perpetuates a cycle of policy experimentation and failure. Community engagement, local partnerships and appropriate communications methods may lead to more appropriate and effective policy responses to issues in Indigenous communities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)59-73
    Number of pages15
    JournalLearning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social contexts
    Issue numberMay 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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