Public Lecture by Jon Altman
The Indigenous Land and Justice Research Hub Public Lecture will be on "Prospects for development on Indigenous Lands".
About the Lecture:
Since federation in 1901 the settler state has imagined that Australia’s north would be developed just like the south by the ‘white’ race. But in the last 40 years, more and more of the north has been legally returned to Indigenous ownership under land rights and then native title laws. Much of the land returned has historically not been amenable to ‘free’ market capitalist forms of economic development hence its ‘repossession’.
In this lecture I look to explore the ongoing attempts to ‘Develop the North’ as if it is no different from the temperate south (suspending for the moment debate about the environmental impacts of southern ‘development’ on biodiversity, water availability and greenhouse gas emissions). While there is scant evidence that a market capitalist developmental agenda is succeeding in the north, there is considerable evidence that the socioeconomic status of Indigenous landowners is at best stagnating at worst dangerously declining, despite decades of governmental effort to what is now termed ‘close the gaps’.
My overarching argument is that institutional arrangements and regulatory regimes for ‘developing the north’ are of deeply flawed design that will fail to improve the circumstances of Indigenous peoples on their repossessed lands. I look to explore some alternative arrangements that will enhance wellbeing prospects for Indigenous peoples with recognised land title rights and interests by mixing capitalist and non-capitalist ways of being and making a living in the 21st century.
About Jon Altman:
Jon Altman began his academic career in Australia as a development economist at the University of Melbourne in 1976 before switching his disciplinary focus to anthropology from 1978.
He has mainly worked at the ANU where he was the foundation director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research from 1990 to 2010 and where he is now an Emeritus Professor at the School of Regulation and Global Governance.
From 2016–2019 he was a research professor at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization, Deakin University. Since 1979 he has undertaken long-term collaborative research in western Arnhem Land, mainly with Kuninjku people who initially welcomed him as a doctoral student; and more broadly with other groups and organisations in the North focusing on how to leverage land and resource property rights to facilitate development alternatives.