CoRE – Country, Relationships, Economy

ALE­DA will dri­ve the Strat­e­gy on the ground util­is­ing the Pilot Cap­i­tal Fund, and pro­vide a cen­tral loca­tion for stake­hold­er engage­ment and pol­i­cy devel­op­ment. The third chal­lenge in the remote com­mer­cial devel­op­ment space is ​“adap­tive capacity”.

With respect to the eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment of the NT Indige­nous Estate, this adap­tive capac­i­ty relates to both Abo­rig­i­nal adap­tive capac­i­ty in tran­si­tion­ing from a wel­fare-based econ­o­my to a mar­ket based econ­o­my util­is­ing Abo­rig­i­nal land assets; and to the adap­tive capac­i­ty of gov­ern­ments and the wider econ­o­my to respond to Abo­rig­i­nal aspi­ra­tions, process and pro­to­cols in the devel­op­ment of the sig­nif­i­cant oppor­tu­ni­ties pre­sent­ed by the NT Abo­rig­i­nal Estate.

Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple not only deserve to be in the dri­ving seat of the devel­op­ment of their lands, but also bring many strengths to this table. Cre­ative and rad­i­cal think­ing is required to re-set the rela­tion­ships between Indige­nous and non-Indige­nous peo­ple, sup­port­ing the kind of struc­tur­al reform that will enable inno­va­tion and success.

Com­mer­cial activ­i­ties are well under­stood and reg­u­lat­ed for a non-Indige­nous envi­ron­ment. But the non-com­mer­cial aspects of remote area eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment are more com­plex and nuanced, and ser­vices in this space are often patchy, absent or inter­mit­tent­ly fund­ed, deliv­ered ad hoc by a vari­ety of ser­vice providers, and not coor­di­nat­ed or linked to any clear over­ar­ch­ing goal or framework.

Suc­cess­ful remote eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment begins with strong local knowl­edge. An under­stand­ing of the local fea­tures of each project must then be sup­port­ed by a recog­nised process for meet­ing on-the-ground requests and deliv­er­ing effec­tive respons­es in response to emer­gent needs. As not­ed by the Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty Commission: 

“region­al devel­op­ment has the best chance of suc­cess when it involves region­al com­mu­ni­ties tak­ing a lead­er­ship role in plan­ning their own devel­op­ment needs and iden­ti­fy­ing strate­gies for how best to facil­i­tate devel­op­ment.” (2017:25)

Access to iden­ti­fied ser­vices should then be avail­able on demand to sup­port and enhance each project’s via­bil­i­ty and sus­tain­abil­i­ty, rather than through a one-size-fits-all cen­tralised pro­gram and top-down deliv­ery process.

This requires a clear frame­work linked to a mutu­al­ly under­stood goal. The frame­work will be dri­ven by good com­mu­ni­ca­tion and feed­back loops that break down silos and cre­ate an inte­grat­ed knowl­edge sys­tem that can be applied at a local lev­el. This type of coor­di­na­tion is the foun­da­tion of suc­cess­ful eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment. It enables all stake­hold­ers to see the goal, com­pre­hend the process, and work together.

Described in the Strat­e­gy as CoRE (Coun­try Rela­tion­ships Econ­o­my) this process is close­ly linked to the Com­mu­ni­ty Plan­ning and Devel­op­ment activ­i­ties that have seen suc­cess­ful man­age­ment of income for social and com­mer­cial out­comes, and the growth of gov­er­nance capac­i­ty to han­dle the meet­ing of finan­cial and cul­tur­al require­ments. How­ev­er, CoRE will also have author­i­ty to oper­a­tionalise the guid­ing prin­ci­ples across all ALE­DA activ­i­ty and will man­age inter­nal rela­tions with­in ALE­DA, ensur­ing cul­tur­al com­pe­ten­cy informs all deci­sion mak­ing to sup­port Abo­rig­i­nal out­comes in the com­mer­cial devel­op­ment space. It will also coor­di­nate the research require­ments of ALE­DA towards refin­ing the Strat­e­gy, ensur­ing that the pilot phase deliv­ers a smooth­ly work­ing process for rolling out in 2024.

A frame­work for CoRE is cur­rent­ly under devel­op­ment in asso­ci­a­tion with the Com­mu­ni­ty Plan­ning and Devel­op­ment Units of both land coun­cils, their respec­tive Land Man­age­ment and Region­al Devel­op­ment Units and with the North­ern Aus­tralia Indige­nous Land and Sea Man­age­ment Alliance (NAILS­MA). It will be refined though work­shops with stake­hold­ers dur­ing 2020.

The Joint Land Coun­cil Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Strat­e­gy for the NT Abo­rig­i­nal Estate (EDS) incorporates:

  • ALE­DA — as the Abo­rig­i­nal owned lead agency to coor­di­nate this strategy
  • Cap­i­tal Fund — as ALEDA’s engine to dri­ve the strat­e­gy, whol­ly owned by ALEDA
  • CoRE — as what ensures ALE­DA and all its activ­i­ties are con­sis­tent with Abo­rig­i­nal prin­ci­ples, pro­to­cols, and process­es; and in line with each indi­vid­ual project’s local aspi­ra­tions and requirements.

CoRE is what makes the EDS an Abo­rig­i­nal strat­e­gy, owned and oper­at­ed by, with and for the Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple of the NT.