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Curtin University
Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP)


Title: Indigenous participation in a low-carbon economy   

Funding body: Australian Research Council Linkage grant

Partner: SMYL Community Services

Collaborators: Swinburne University

CUSP researchers: Dora Marinova, Angela Rooney and Phil Webster

Description: The aim of this project is to investigate how Australian Indigenous people can be included in the emerging opportunities of a low-carbon economy. It analyses what the future requirements are against the current training and skilling of Aboriginal youth.

Its trans-disciplinary significance is in a new approach to skilling that draws on mainstream practices and uses interviews with stakeholders to deliver outcomes that are valuable and novel. They cover a better understanding for future Indigenous skilling for a low carbon economy.

About the partner: South Metropolitan Youth Link (SMYL) Community Services is a registered training
organisation. SMYL delivers a range of services to disadvantaged Western Australians, including innovative employment, education and training programs. It works closely with underprivileged and marginalised people assisting them to make a fresh start so that they can enhance their present circumstances and future prospects.

Title:  Policy orientation of non-health sectors to social determinants of health Funding body: Australian Research Council Discovery grant Collaborators: Flinders University

CUSP researchers: Dora Marinova

Description: This project aims to advance understanding of how Australian government policies in four sectors (justice, environment, planning, and industry) are oriented to action on social determinants of health equity (SDHE), including Indigenous health. Evidence shows that government policy in all sectors affects health. The World Health Organization and the United Nations have called for whole-of-government approaches to SDHE. The project applies theory to understand how policy values and strategies in the selected sectors provide for or present barriers to this approach. Expected project outcomes will produce evidence for policy-makers on how to strengthen policy coherence across sectors to address SDHE more effectively in order to promote Australian health and reduce health inequities.

In the summer of 2015 Helen Miller and Laura Stocker undertook a study into visitor values and uses at the Rivermouth beach of the Margaret River. We interviewed Rivermouth visitors over the Australia Day long weekend as well as permit holders and representatives of the Traditional Owners.

The study highlighted a number of key findings, including: 

  • Visits to the Rivermouth play an important role in contributing to health, resilience and wellbeing of visitors 
  • The natural environment is a strong pull factor for visits; is associated strongly with the quality of the visit and it is very important that the environment is kept “clean and green” 
  • A clean healthy environment was a critical factor for visiting for many people  
  • Despite not knowing much about the local Aboriginal sacred sites, it is important to visitors that they are protected  
  • A “less is more” attitude exists in relation to commercial operations, while there was some support for a food & drink vendor particularly in the afternoon  
  • Visitors are generally happy with the infrastructure and responded favourably to the recent developments. The assessment was that the managers had gotten balance at the Rivermouth right and very little else is desired ( 
  • Where concerns were expressed regarding the infrastructure it involved the choice of materials, particularly the black decking material 
  • Parking concerns strongest amongst permit holders  
  • Place attachment varies considerably and is lowest amongst people who visit for only a few days  

Based on the findings a number of recommendations are made for consideration by the Augusta-Margaret River Shire including: 

  • Underpin all management actions with clean and green values at the Rivermouth  
  • Explore opportunities to engage under-represented populations with the coast to benefit their health and wellbeing 
  • Examine community communications and signage at the Rivermouth and develop a style that is consistent with values and builds visitor attachment and caring 
  • Protect culture and heritage at the Rivermouth, in particular the Wardandi sacred sites 
  • Address the visitor knowledge gap of Wardandi values through authentic Aboriginal tourism, good quality signage and professional involvement in management activities 
  • Clarify exclusivity entitlements for permit holders 
  • Consider the inclusion of a refreshment van in the afternoons 
  • Investigate low cost options to reduce parking demand through promoting and encouraging alternatives such as cycling and walking. 
  • Investigate with DPAW an alternate access point for recreation along the lower river, such access would have to not facilitate power boating. 
  • Review life guard hours to ensure alignment with visitor numbers and rescue times.