Author(s): Julian Gorman, Sivaram Vemuri
For centuries Australian Aboriginal custodians have managed their country and its natural, cultural and spiritual resources and values within. Upon European colonisation many of Aboriginal practices were interrupted and in the subsequent years substantial changes to the landscape have taken place. In the 1990s, in response to land management threats, Australian and Northern Territory governments funded programs supporting employment of Aboriginal peoples as rangers. The Indigenous Land and Sea Management program integrated Indigenous and non-Indigenous land and sea management practice and was supported through government machinery and bureaucratic processes and procedures. A rise in the public debt levels and paucity of funds has led to downsizing of such programs. An unintended consequence of downsizing has been the creation of inimical conditions for providing the necessary funds for Indigenous Natural and Cultural Resources Management (INCRM) activities. A blended form of Indigenous land management practices emerged through formation of public-private partnerships. With inevitability of further downsizing even these partnerships are facing near annihilations as alternative market drivers for such service provisions fail to exist on these remote lands. Genuine concerns for continuity of INCRM operations have emerged because of wide fluctuations in the funds available for such programs. In reality, search is focussed on alternative funding sources from the private and the not-for-profit sector to continue INCRM activities. However sustainability from different funding sources is largely dependent on the availability of Indigenous entrepreneurs who are engaged in INCRM. The paucity of funding and availability of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial acumen has prompted an investigation of entrepreneurs in INCRM activities on Indigenous lands in uncertain environments. As a result the main focus of this paper is an examination of challenges in establishing Indigenous cultural and resource markets as an alternative to the existing process. The paper calls for creating market forces on indigenous lands to sustain INCRM activities to enable the development of entrepreneurialism.