Nicholas Biddle

Dr. Nicholas Biddle is a Fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) at The Australian National University (ANU). He has a Bachelor of Economics (Hons.) from the University of Sydney and a Master of Education from Monash University. He also has a PhD in Public Policy from ANU where he wrote his thesis on the benefits of and participation in education of Indigenous Australians. Nicholas is currently working on the Indigenous Population project, funded by the Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments. He is also working on a Research Fellowship for the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and previously held a Senior Research Officer and Assistant Director position in the Methodology Division of the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Indigenous Australians and the National Disability Insurance Scheme »

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is one of the major policy innovations of the early 21st century in Australia, representing a new way of delivering services to people with a disability and those who care for them. It has the potential to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, giving them greater certainty and control over their lives. There is a higher incidence of disability in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population than in the Australian population more generally, so the NDIS is of particular relevance to Indigenous Australians. However, Indigenous Australians with a disability have a very distinct age, geographic and health profile, which differs from that of the equivalent non-Indigenous population. Furthermore, the conceptualisation of disability and care in many Indigenous communities, particularly in remote areas, may differ markedly in comparison to more settled parts of the country, and there is the added complexity of a unique history of interaction with government. In considering these issues in detail, this Research Monograph provides a resource for policy makers, researchers and service providers who are working in this important policy area. Its major conclusion is that the NDIS, if it is to be an effective policy for Indigenous Australians, needs to take into account their very particular needs and aspirations.

Survey Analysis for Indigenous Policy in Australia »

Social Sciences Perspectives

Indigenous policy is a complex domain motivated by a range of social, cultural, political and economic issues. The Council of Australian Governments ‘closing the gaps’ agenda for addressing Indigenous disadvantage in Australia now includes six targets with well defined and measurable outcomes for policy action. In this context there is a continuing and pressing need for robust debate to understand how meaningful improvement in Indigenous outcomes might be achieved. This monograph presents the peer-reviewed proceedings of the 2011 CAEPR/ABS conference on ‘Social Science Perspectives on the 2008 National and Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Social Survey’. It is the fourth CAEPR monograph since 1992 to reflect on national surveys of Indigenous Australians. The conference covered topics including child development, crime and justice, culture, wellbeing, the customary economy, demography, education, employment, fertility, health, housing, income and financial stress, mobility, poverty, social exclusion, and substance abuse. The papers summarise the strengths and limitations of the 2008 NATSISS, discuss the types of policy-relevant questions it can inform, and consider future survey design. A social survey such as the NATSISS can ultimately never tell those responsible for developing public policy what to do, but it can provide useful information to inform policy decisions. This volume will be useful for researchers and policy makers, and relevant to the wider national debate and, in particular, Indigenous communities and organisations.

Demographic and Socioeconomic Outcomes Across the Indigenous Australian Lifecourse »

Evidence from the 2006 Census

Authored by: Nicholas Biddle, Mandy Yap
Across almost all standard indicators, the Indigenous population of Australia has worse outcomes than the non-Indigenous population. Despite the abundance of statistics and a plethora of government reports on Indigenous outcomes, there is very little information on how Indigenous disadvantage accumulates or is mitigated through time at the individual level. The research that is available highlights two key findings. Firstly, that Indigenous disadvantage starts from a very early age and widens over time. Secondly, that the timing of key life events including education attendance, marriage, childbirth and retirement occur on average at different ages for the Indigenous compared to the non-Indigenous population. To target policy interventions that will contribute to meeting the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Closing the Gap targets, it is important to understand and acknowledge the differences between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous lifecourse in Australia, as well as the factors that lead to variation within the Indigenous population.