This paper examines the extent to which Indigenous Australians have shared in the large expansion of the Australian workforce that is revealed by a comparison of 2001 and 2006 census results.
It considers whether this is reflected in changes to regional patterns of Indigenous labour force status, income, occupation and industry of employment. As such, it provides the first comprehensive assessment of possible impacts of federal Indigenous employment policies introduced just prior to the 2001 Census and it contributes to the policy discourse on ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and other Australians.
Conventional census measures of labour force status are established for each of 37 Indigenous Regions and administrative data are also deployed to produce a more accurate picture of the spread of CDEP program employment and the effect of this on labour force outcomes. Changes in occupational and industry segregation are established as is the effect of employment change on the gap in median incomes. In line with previous gap analyses conducted by CAEPR an attempt is made to estimate future job requirements using a projection of the Indigenous working-age population to 2016. This reveals a need for more than 70,000 additional jobs to meet current government targets.