The Martu leaders of the Wiluna Shire, Western Australia, have long been concerned about their young people and hope that they are able to find jobs, especially in the mining industry. They have been concerned about unemployment among their adult population as well. ‘Why aren’t people taking up jobs?’ they wanted to know. In this report they provide the answers to that question, answers given in a household survey that the Martu themselves designed and carried out. By empowering themselves through taking decisive action they have strengthened their communities. They have given their community members a voice, and when people state their concerns, they find the language to describe the problems and to find the solutions. When the Martu leaders formed the Muntjiljtarra Wurrgumu Group (MWG) they brought together key people from the Wiluna, Bondinni, Kutkububba, Ngurra Yuldoo and Windidda communities. It was the MWG that undertook an attitudinal survey of residents to understand the opportunities for and obstacles to Indigenous employment in their region. By working together to understand what people in their communities think about getting a job they have produced a report that will change the way many Australians think about these issues. Researchers and policy makers in Australia concerned with Indigenous employment outcomes will discover in this report a unique and innovative model for engaging local residents in the challenge of closing the employment gaps. The survey involves a toolbox of techniques and activities that will be invaluable to other communities where the task of finding jobs for Indigenous people is challenging. That Martu people designed and carried out the household survey is, in itself, a breakthrough. Too often, communities are forced to rely on what experts from faraway places say about their situation, and if the residents disagree with the experts their views are rarely acknowledged. The findings of this team of local experts are critical to positive change in this most disadvantaged region of remote Australia; to ignore them would be remiss.
This report outlines the background, methodology and a summary of key results of a Martu attitudinal survey conducted in 2013 in Wiluna (Western Australia) and surrounding communities.
Muntjiljtarra Wurrgumu Group. (2013). Martu attitudinal survey Wiluna Region, WA: Survey background and summary (Part A). Wiluna, Western Australia: Muntjiljtarra Wurrgumu Group.