Success factors for indigenous wildlife-based enterprise in Northern Australia

  • Beau James Austin

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    Access to land and resources has not, in itself, been sufficient for improving the wellbeing of Indigenous people living in remote northern Australia. Though exceedingly valuable in other ways, much of the Indigenous estate has limited potential for market-based economic development. However, many Indigenous Australians have become increasingly interested in using natural resources commercially for livelihoods development. This thesis investigates the key factors of success for one such market-based opportunity: Indigenous wildlife-based enterprise. Commercial uses of wildlife have the potential to harness assets available to Aboriginal people living in remote northern Australia for the enhancement of their livelihoods. Indeed, many Indigenous Australians are already using wildlife commercially to supplement their livelihoods, to expand natural resource management capacity and to enhance their ability to perform cultural obligations on country. To investigate factors of success, a set of three case studies of successful Indigenous wildlife-based enterprises were constructed using a grounded theory approach. Research was conducted during nine field trips to three sites: Broome/Dampier Peninsula (WA); Bulman (NT) and Maningrida (NT). These field trips took place between November 2008 and January 2011. A total of 55 days was spent in the field conducting observations and recording interviews with 32 research participants. These qualitative data were analysed using standard coding techniques. Seven key factors were identified as underpinning the success of the enterprises investigated. They were: the resource base; minimal anti-use sentiment; demonstrable sustainability; markets; access; social capital; and supportive organisations and formal institutions. These case studies provide examples of natural resource-based enterprises that have allowed Indigenous people to engage in market-based economic activity in remote northern Australia. The findings of this thesis will be of interest to Indigenous people and communities, development practitioners, policy-makers and natural resource managers working in the fields of Indigenous livelihood development and the sustainable use of wildlife.
    Date of AwardJul 2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorStephen Garnett (Supervisor), Heather Aslin (Supervisor), Julian Gorman (Supervisor) & Peter Whitehead (Supervisor)

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