‘Big mobs in the city now’ : the increasing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in urban areas
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Bronwyn Fredericks, A Leitch, R Barty
The locations and settings in which Australian Indigenous people live varies, however over 70 % of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia now live in urban or regional urban areas (ABS 2008). Over half of the total population lives in the two states Queensland and New South Wales. The 2006 Census data indicates that 146, 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples or 28.3% lives in Queensland. The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in schools in the greater Brisbane area is approximately 29% of the Queensland population. There are other sizeable urban Indigenous populations along the Queensland coast and larger rural towns. The statistics demonstrate that living in urban centres is as much part of reality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as living in a remote discrete Aboriginal community. Historically, discrete rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have been the focus of most of the research conducted with Indigenous populations. These locations have provided researchers with an easily identifiable study population. However, unlike rural and remote communities, identifying and accessing urban Indigenous communities can be much more difficult despite the growing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in urban areas. Limited research has been undertaken on the issues that impact on urban Indigenous communities or have explored methods of undertaking research with urban Indigenous communities. This paper will explore the some of the issues and needs of urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in South East Queensland and highlight some of the emerging policy, program and research responses.