Application of capability approach to assess the role of ecosystem services in well-being of indigenous Australians for welfare policies

Sangha, Kamaljit and Le Brocque, Andrew (2014) Application of capability approach to assess the role of ecosystem services in well-being of indigenous Australians for welfare policies. In: Ecological Society of Australia Annual Conference (ESA 2014), 28 Sep-3 Oct 2014, Alice Springs, Australia.

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Well-being of Indigenous people in Australia is linked to use and value of natural resources that play a significant part in the socio-economic and cultural lives of people. This research analyses the current well-being approach as used in Australia from an Indigenous perspective, the value of natural resources in Indigenous well-being, and applies the capability approach to suggest transformation of the present concept of Indigenous well-being for the future policy decision making. The study presents data from three case studies from Queensland and proposes to include intangible values (eg cultural and identity values) that are linked to people's capabilities and functionings into the well-being measures. The results suggest changing focus from socio-economic measure of well-being to an integrated socio-economic-ecological measure that incorporates people's capabilities. It examines the current passive welfare policies and recommends to develop pro-capability policies that promote and help people to build knowledge and skills in relation to natural resources; in line with people's past experiences, skills and knowledge. This paper also briefly analyses the tradeoffs of the current Government expenditure on welfare programs for enhancing Indigenous capabilities that can benefit the wider Australian public and could save the cost of welfare programs and of weed/natural resource management programs to a greater extent, if Indigenous people will be provided with appropriate opportunities to access land/other natural resources. The study suggests transforming the concept of well-being and its measures by incorporating people's capabilities and their values in relation to the natural systems. It is demonstrated in here that by including traditional and cultural knowledge as 'functionings' of Indigenous people that enhances well-being, it could enable people to lead creative and healthy lives. This research proposes a win-win situation for the Government, Indigenous people as well for the wider Australian public.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2015 02:10
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2017 00:17
Uncontrolled Keywords: traditional owners; indigenous Australians and the land; cultural identity; natural resources; Queensland; welfare
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Knowledge
16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
C Society > 92 Health > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health

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