Articles by: Jon Altman

Author Biography:

Jon Altman has a background in economics and anthropology and is an emeritus professor at the Australian National University. He works on practical issues around environmental, economic and social justice for Indigenous peoples in Australia and beyond with a number of not-for-profits. He has been an active participant in the Arena project for 20 years.

Informit: Will the NT intervention now unravel?

Informit: Neo-paternalism and the destruction of CDEP [Community Development Employment Projects]

Informit: The future of Indigenous Australia [Policy should involve more than a choice between the free market and welfare dependency.]

Informit: Inconvenient facts: [Denigrating Aboriginal outstations as ‘cultural museums’ ignores the facts.]

Informit: Aboriginal economy and social process: the indigenous hybrid economy and its sustainable development potential

Informit: Arnhem land Buffalo

In May 2014 I was flying low in a helicopter over the Tomkinson River floodplains in western Arnhem Land, locally known by the regional name Bulkay. While I had visited Bulkay on many occasions, this was my first chopper flyover since 2009. This area is renowned as a site for large gatherings of Aboriginal people owing to its seasonal resource abundance. I saw herds of wild buffalo visible from the air in greater numbers than…

Informit: Neoliberal assimilation

Homo economicus sits at the centre of the Forrest Review of Aboriginal jobs and training. As an academic and practitioner who has undertaken research on Indigenous policy and development for nearly forty years and chaired policy reviews for governments, I realise that the task is challenging, especially in the cluttered and highly politicised field that is Indigenous policy today. But I was sceptical from the outset that the Forrest Review would deliver, owing to a…

Informit: Hope-less futures?

Informit: Yolngu diplomacy

In July 2008, at Yirrkala in the Northern Territory, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his entourage were camped under a marquee on a section of the town park. In the same park were tribal political leaders from across East Arnhem Land, the home of the Yolngu people. Everyone had hoped for sunshine but it was drizzling with rain. At a certain point the tribal leaders walked the distance between the two groups and handed the…

Informit: From CDEP to CEEDS?

The Australian government is seeking to fundamentally reform CDEP (Community Development Employment Projects) throughout remote Indigenous Australia as a part of the NT Intervention. CDEP, established in 1977, is a mutual obligation workfare program that was a vehicle for engaging Aboriginal people in a range of community development, service delivery and enterprise development projects, funded from block grants roughly equivalent to unemployment benefit entitlements.

Informit: W(h)ither remote Indigenous economic development?

As 2011 unfolded, some reflexive summer copy appeared in 'The Australian' on disappointingly slow progress in Indigenous development in remote Australia. For several years now 'The Australian' has taken a lead role in advocating for intervention, championing the decisive actions taken in 2007 in the Northern Territory under the policy umbrella of a 'national emergency', and strongly editorialising and commentating on the need for forms of individual responsibility, private home ownership, education, employment and business…

Informit: Wild rivers

As the Senate inquires into the Queensland Wild Rivers Bill, Jon Altman argues the case for Aboriginal resources rights across Australia.