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Family Matters No. 75 - September 2006

Viewpoint: Family issues for Indigenous Australians

Sue Gordon

Abstract

Children aged fifteen years and under account for 39 per cent of the Indigenous population in Australia in the 2001 census but only 20 per cent of the non-Indigenous population. The Australian population is an ageing one - in contrast the Indigenous population profile is youthful, and growing at almost double the national average. Beginning with these facts the author proceeds to share the National Indigenous Council's views on how to improve outcomes for Indigenous early childhood development, to describe the context that shapes the experiences and outcomes for many Indigenous children, and to outline the risks of not addressing the underlying factors. The article concludes with a brief overview of research that aims to identify how positive pathways for Indigenous children can be better understood and replicated.

Children aged fifteen years and under account for 39 per cent of the Indigenous population in Australia in the 2001 census but only 20 per cent of the non-Indigenous population. The Australian population is an ageing one - in contrast the Indigenous population profile is youthful, and growing at almost double the national average. Beginning with these facts the author proceeds to share the National Indigenous Council's views on how to improve outcomes for Indigenous early childhood development, to describe the context that shapes the experiences and outcomes for many Indigenous children, and to outline the risks of not addressing the underlying factors. The article concludes with a brief overview of research that aims to identify how positive pathways for Indigenous children can be better understood and replicated.

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