The development of responsibility and management of Aboriginal community councils in East Arnhem Land and the Tiwi Islands

  • Adeniba Christian Adepoyibi

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    Current observer opinion on Aboriginal community councils is almost unified in the conclusion that councils, as imposed European structures, are agents of Government control over Aboriginal people and are therefore inappropriate and cannot provide effective service delivery to Aboriginal communities due to what is termed their ‘unique culture’. This Thesis examines those factors that have been identified in the literature as having effect on organisation performance in tradition-oriented communities and discusses them through a comparative study of five Aboriginal community councils located in East Arnhem Land and the Tiwi Islands. Three broad hypotheses are developed for testing the validity of this observer opinion. The study finds that the factors are not exclusive of themselves in these councils and may vary depending on the prevailing conditions at any particular period. It views the historical conditions under which organisation and management took place in the communities and the ensuing interaction and relationship between local councils and the wider Australian society as the main contributors to this characteristic. It finds that by focussing exclusively on the historical factors alone, observer opinion may have seriously underestimated the effect of the social processes involved when two cultures interact and the power of local people to adapt imposed structures to their own needs and suggests that the factors be expanded to account for this micro-social side of the interaction. The study finds that perceptions of management roles by local people do not differ across the two cultural areas studied although differences in perceptions of performance across all the councils are noted. The study proposes the conditions under which a factor may have influence on performance and information collected are used for explaining the management issues and present practices of the councils. A model is presented for organising and presenting the findings in a coherent and understandable manner and also used to discuss proposals for future research and management development and service delivery to Aboriginal communities
    Date of Award1999
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMerick Jones (Supervisor)

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