Gambling in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory — which is at 20 times the rate of the general population — will be targeted in a new three-year project by the Australian National University.
The $1.3 million pilot project, led by the ANU’s Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, is being funded by the NT Government and will be the biggest single investment to address gambling in Indigenous communities in Australia.
ANU will partner with the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin and Amity Community Services Inc.
Lead researcher Marisa Fogarty said national research had shown Aboriginal people experienced higher rates of gambling problems than non-Indigenous people.
Dr Matt Stevens from the Menzies School of Health Research said NT research has found gambling problems occur at rates up to 20 times higher in some remote Aboriginal communities compared to the total NT population.
“These findings are concerning and demonstrate the need for researchers to work with communities to reverse this trend,” Dr Stevens said.
Over the next three years the team will design, implement and evaluate ways to work with communities to address problem gambling.
The project will be piloted in three remote NT communities.
Under the funding arrangement, ANU will receive $800,000 to design and evaluate the project with the Menzies School of Health Research. Amity Community Services Inc will receive $500,000 to implement the project.
“Each community will develop their own educational material. It will be a completely localised initiative,” Dr Fogarty said.
“Nearly 10 years of research has found the issues are pretty consistent. It is just a matter of whether one community is experiencing more problems at one time or another.”