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The spatial context of Indigenous service delivery

CollectionsANU Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR)
Title: The spatial context of Indigenous service delivery
Author(s): Taylor, John
Keywords: Indigenous population distribution
service delivery
financial services
market thresholds
remote Australia
socioeconomic status
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Research School of Social Sciences, College of Arts & Social Sciences, The Australian National University
Series/Report no.: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) Working Paper: No. 16
Introduction: As with all economic activities that consider proximity to a client base as part of their locational decision-making, the geographic distribution of banking and financial services has, until quite recently at least, been determined largely by a spatial calculus of market demand and supply. In this estimation, market thresholds dictated by population (client) potential have been an overriding factor. because of the face-to-face mode of service delivery, the consequence was a widely distributed banking infrastructure reaching down the settlement hierarchy to the smallest of rural service centres. <p> Over the past 15 years this has dramatically changed. As demonstrated by the House of Representatives Inquiry into Regional Banking Services (Commonwealth of Australia 1999), and as summarised by Beal (2002), market dynamics have induced a restructuring of the banking and financial services sector involving a shift away from face-to-face service delivery, due to branch closures, towards electronic modes of customer interaction. <p> ... <p> From the perspective of Indigenous individuals, families, households, community organisations and enterprises, these impacts must be considered against a background of relatively low economic status and a financial cycle in many localities that is best described as one of feast and famine (Westbury 1999). Thus the essential framework for an appreciation of appropriate policy responses to recent changes in banking infrastructure is a combination of spatial and socioeconomic contexts—who is in touch with what services, who is not, and where? <p> This paper seeks to provide such a framework by outlining the nature of Indigenous population and settlement distribution. Comparison with the majority non-Indigenous population is made as it is the market power of the latter which provides the stimulus for decision-making regarding the spatial allocation of mainstream services. A second aim is to provide summary standard indicators of relative Indigenous socioeconomic status, particularly those that may have some bearing on options for the provision and delivery of appropriate banking and financial services.
ISSN: 1442-3871


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