Incentivising On Country Aboriginal Employment: Anangu Futures

This project analyses the complex social, political and economic conditions that have enabled the Indigenous community of Mutitjulu to endure ongoing and extreme economic and social marginalisation.

Aims and background

This Linkage project adopts an interdisciplinary approach to analyse the complex social, political and economic conditions that have enabled the Indigenous community of Mutitjulu to endure ongoing and extreme economic and social marginalisation. This has occurred despite longstanding joint management arrangements with the National Park and the close proximity and very significant economic potential associated with a five-star resort town, international airport,and other infrastructure.

This project has been developed in direct consultation with Anangu, who believe that addressing the social, economic and cultural divide that exists between the wealth of Yulara-Ayers Rock Resort and the poverty of Mutitjulu is an urgent priority.


  1. Review and analyse barriers that have prevented Anangu from benefiting socially and economically from tourism at Uluru, and identify key factors that have enabled past successes
  2. Explore tourism experiences that are authentic to and respectful of the cultural knowledges, skills and interests of the Anangu at Mutitjulu
  3. Develop strategies whereby tourism can provide opportunities for young Anangu people to reconnect or strengthen cultural knowledges and become equipped with the skills to participate actively in the local tourist economy at multiple levels
  4. Create new employment opportunities for Mutitjulu people that are culturally relevant and sustainable.

These four objectives will be addressed through a sequence of specific aims:

  • Expand understandings of the relationships between Anangu at Mutitjulu and the tourism industry at Yulara-Ayers Rock Resort to enable better synergies that improve outcomes for Anangu and visitor experience
  • Produce a detailed history of Anangu interactions and relationships with the tourism industry at Uluru-Kata Tjuta
  • Deepen understandings and provide new insights into the complex, multifaceted issues that impact the social, political and economic conditions for Anangu at Mutitjulu and investigate why tourism at Yulara-Ayers Rock Resort has not generated increases in employment, income and wealth for the Mutitjulu community
  • Collaborate with research partners to develop and trial micro-business operations, which will be hosted and delivered by the Mutitjulu community. These include cultural immersion camps, on Country health and well-being programs, and youth training for intercultural communication. Outcomes achieved by these trial initiatives will be evaluated and provided to research partners with recommendations on future viability and structural requirements for long-term sustainability
  • Audit the ecological and cultural values of Country available to Anangu and suitable for use in micro-business operations. Identify ecological threats to Anangu aspirations for such operations, and how these can be managed
  • Collaborate with research partners to communicate the research process, progress and outputs through a web-based platform that is easily accessible to research partners and Mutitjulu community members
  • Characterise and report on a participatory research methodology that goes beyond existing models for collaborative research in partnership with indigenous peoples and communities. This research will exponentially expand knowledge about Anangu relationships with the tourism industry at Uluru-Kata Tjuta with expected positive impact at local, regional and national scales.

The project will deliver significant local benefits to the Mutitjulu community, improve remote area Indigenous employment in central Australia, and deliver richer, more authentic tourism experiences for national and international visitors

Project details

Grant identifier


Chief investigators

Professor Barry Judd, University of Melbourne
Professor Amanda Kearney, Flinders University
Professor Keir Reeves, Federation University of Australia
Dr Christine Schlesinger, Charles Darwin University

Total ARC funding


Planned commencement date

January 2021