One third of indigenous Australians live in poverty

The Australian National University study, by researcher Dr Nicholas Biddle, found that Geraldton, Port Augusta, Kalgoorlie - Boulder and Hervey Bay, when compared to other regional centres, had a more disadvantaged Indigenous population.

Geoffrey Cannon & Chloe Papas ABC - Mid West & Wheatbelt

A new report shows that indigenous Australians in WA's regional centres are struggling more than any other group in the country.

The report, written by Dr Nicholas Biddle and Francis Markham from the Australian National University, looks at the socioeconomic differences between indigenous and non-indigenous groups in Australia.

The findings show that across the board, one third of indigenous Australians live in poverty, falling within the most disadvantaged group of the population.

Dr Biddle looked at 43 regional areas within the report, and the West Australian cities of Geraldton and Kalgoorlie-Boulder proved to house (2 of) the the highest percentage of disadvantaged and mobile indigenous groups in the country.

ABC's Geoffrey Cannon spoke with Dr Biddle about the report.

"There's no jurisdictions which are free from issues around indigenous poverty or poor socioeconomic outcomes," he explains.

Dr Biddle says that the issue of mobility needs to be addressed in Western Australia in particular, with many indigenous people frequently changing residences or living in temporary shelters.

"That mobility can make it quite hard for governments to provide services in a way that will improve indigenous outcomes," says Dr Biddle.

The researchers are hoping to highlight government policy discrepancies regarding povery and Australia's indigenous population.

The four most disadvantaged First Nations communities

Lisa Thomas Geraldton Newspapers 12 October 2013

A study has named Geraldton among the four worst regional centres in Australia for Indigenous disadvantage.

The Australian National University study, by researcher Dr Nicholas Biddle, found that Geraldton, Port Augusta, Kalgoorlie - Boulder and Hervey Bay, when compared to other regional centres, had a more disadvantaged Indigenous population.

Dr Biddle says the four centres need greater government assistance, training and support for Indigenous people is needed, as well as support from their local community.

"We need to make sure through rigorous auditing that employers are giving Indigenous Australians the opportunities that they deserve and they are not making unfair assumptions about the employability of an Indigenous person," he said.

Dr Biddle and co-author Francis Markham studied 43 regional centres with populations of between 10,000 and 250,000, and at least 1000 usual Indigenous residents.

The study says that although Indigenous residents are important, they are often overlooked in the geography of the Indigenous landscape.

Dr Biddle attributes low employment and opportunity in the workforce as the reasons Geraldton ranked so highly on the list.

"A good stable job is the best route to improved socio-economic outcomes for an individual, their family and their community," he said.

"In Geraldton the Indigenous population would benefit from targeted training opportunities that have been evaluated for their effectiveness and that fit within the local labour market.

"We know that Indigenous people who have been able to obtain a good quality education do relatively well in the labour market."