Territory Stories

Overcoming indigenous disadvantage - key indicators



Overcoming indigenous disadvantage - key indicators


Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




The OID report measures the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have been actively involved in the development and production of the report. Section 1.1 describes the origins of the report, and section 1.2 describes its key objectives. Section 1.3 provides contextual information on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Section 1.4 includes a brief historical narrative to help put the information in the report into context. Section 1.5 summarises some recent developments in government policy that have influenced the report and section 1.6 provides further information on the Steering Committee and the OID Working Group that advises it.


"These reports generally uses the term ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians’ to describe Australia’s first peoples and ‘non-Indigenous Australians’ to refer to Australians of other backgrounds, except where quoting other sources." Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this publication may contain images of deceased people.

Table of contents

Preliminaries -- Overview chapter -- Introduction -- The framework -- Key themes and interpretation -- COAG targets and headline indicators -- Governance, leadership and culture -- Early child development -- Education and training -- Healthy lives -- Economic participation -- Home environment -- Safe and supportive communities -- Outcomes for Torres Strait Islander people -- Measuring factors that improve outcomes -- Appendices.




Aboriginal Australians -- Ecoomic conditions; Aboriginal Australians -- Social conditions; Public welfare administration -- Australia; Aboriginal Australians -- Services for; Closing the Gap of Indigenous Disadvantage (Australia)

Publisher name

Australia. Productivity Commission for the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision

Place of publication

Canberra (A.C.T.)


5 volumes (various pagings) : charts, colour map ; 30 cm.

File type



9781740375917 (Print); 9781740375900 (PDF)


1448-9805 (Print); 2206-9704 (Online)



Copyright owner

Australia. Productivity Commission for the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision



Parent handle


Citation address


Related items

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/445153; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/445154; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/445156; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/445151

Page content

9.30 OVERCOMING INDIGENOUS DISADVANTAGE 2016 Reliance on income support for those of the working age population is a key indicator of social and economic wellbeing. Historically, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have been over-represented in the Australian income support system. A range of adverse socioeconomic conditions contribute to this high dependence on income support, including poor health, lack of employment opportunities in some local labour markets and lower levels of educational attainment (DEEWR 2009). The relatively lower levels of financial literacy of economically disadvantaged Australians makes it more difficult for those individuals to achieve financial security (ASIC 2014) (financial literacy is discussed briefly at the beginning of chapter 9 and in section 9.2). Low income (often in the form of income support) is associated with a wide range of disadvantages including poor health, shorter life expectancy, poor education, substance abuse, reduced social participation, crime and violence (AHMAC 2015). Welfare dependence was cited by the Cape York Institute (CYI) as contributing to social breakdown in Cape York (FaHCSIA 2012). Income support is available to all eligible Australians to ensure that they have adequate levels of income to support themselves and their dependents. Income support accounts for the largest component of welfare provided by the Australian Government, with over five million direct beneficiaries at any one time (DSS 2015b). Income support payments are paid by Centrelink to the aged, people with disability, carers, youth and students, families with children, the unemployed, and widows. A relatively high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians receive income support. The longest running Indigenous-specific government program was the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP), which until 30 June 2009 allowed some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to receive CDEP wages in the place of unemployment benefits. From 1 July 2009, new CDEP participants received income support payments (such as Newstart) rather than wages, which caused a shift in the recorded source of income for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants. From 1 July 2013, remote CDEP was rolled into the Australian Governments Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP). The Community Development Program (CDP) replaced the RJCP on 1 July 2015 (more information on CDEP is provided in section 4.7). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander welfare reform initiatives include income management, under which part of a persons income support and family assistance payments are directed towards priority items such as food, housing, education, clothing, health care and utilities (Buckmaster and Ey 2012). As part of the 2015-16 Federal Budget, the Australian Government announced that income management would continue across all existing sites until 30 June 2017 (DSS 2015a).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain the names, voices and images of people who have died, as well as other culturally sensitive content. Please be aware that some collection items may use outdated phrases or words which reflect the attitude of the creator at the time, and are now considered offensive.

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