Indigenous Australians live are more likely to be overcrowded not owned by the

Indigenous australians live are more likely to be

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Indigenous Australians live are more likely to be overcrowded, not owned by the usual residents (Biddle and Yap 2010 ) and are more likely to be in areas with relatively dis- advantaged usual residents (Biddle 2009a ). To summarise this socioeconomic and health disadvantage, Yap and Biddle ( 2010 ) created a Human Development Index (HDI) for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Austra- lians and found that, although Australia as a whole was ranked third out of 177 countries, for the Indigenous population in 2006, ‘an HDI value of 0.737 would equate to a country rank of 105th, slightly higher than the Syrian Arab Republic and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but slightly lower than Fiji and Sri Lanka. Recognition of the socioeconomic and health disadvantage faced by Indigenous Australians is longstanding and well estab- lished. In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) 1 committed to a set of ambitious targets aimed at reducing Indigenous disadvantage across six indicators within a reasonably short time period (Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) 2009 ). 2 However, a major element missing from the government’s policy agenda is a specific, evidence-based link between the targets that have been set and Indigenous wellbeing. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS 2001 ) defines wellbeing as a ‘state of health or sufficiency in all aspects of life’. Wellbeing is a broader concept than socioeconomic status and includes the balance between a person’s positive and negative feelings over a par- ticular point in time (emotional wellbeing) as well as how they feel about their life and the extent to which it has met and is meeting their expectations (life evaluation). These two measures tend to be the main notions of subjective wellbeing analysed empirically. However, there are broader notions of wellbeing of relative importance to the Indigenous population including ‘control of territories, lands and natural resources’, ‘promotion of Indigenous languages’ and ‘measures to protect traditional production and subsistence’ (UNPFII 2008 ). Although the annual report based on meeting the targets has the stated aim of ‘assessing improvements in the wellbeing of Indigenous Australians’ (FaHCSIA 2009 , p. 7), it appears to have been assumed by COAG that meeting the six targets will be sufficient in 1 Australia has a federal system with three layers of government—the Commonwealth Government, State/ Territory government and local government. COAG is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia, comprising the Prime Minister, State Premiers, Territory Chief Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association—see . 2 The six targets are: close the life expectancy gap within a generation; halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade; ensure access to early childhood education for all Indig- enous 4 years olds in remote communities within 5 years; halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy
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