Reframing the 2006-2013 Aboriginal Land Tenure Reforms

From 2006 to 2013, successive federal governments in Australia introduced and implemented reforms to enable the customary communal tittle of land under the Commonwealth Aboriginal Land Rights Act to be formally converted into individual titles. In this paper, the recent reforms serve as the case study for exploring an important question in the public policy scholarship: who determines policy outcomes? Previous research has emphasised the role of 'authorities' in determining the objectives and outcomes of the reforms. In contrast, the paper argues for an examination which incorporates the roles of other players in determining outcomes, employing Colebatch's 'structured interaction' account of the policy process. The structured interaction account presents policy outcomes as the result of negotiations between stakeholders who are mainly known to each other. The paper concludes with a discussion of the pitfalls of the structure interactions account, and asks how and whether the pitfalls can be avoided.

About the speaker

Trang is completing her thesis on the objectives and outcomes of federal reforms to Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory from 2006 to 2013. She works for the Australian Public Service in Darwin, and has been employed as
a policy and program officer in Central Australia, Darwin and Canberra.

Note: The views expressed in this lecture are those of the presenter and do not necessarily represent the view of ANU.