The Australian National University (ANU) will run a three-year project to work with Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory to address problem gambling.
The $1.3 million pilot project, led by Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), is funded by the NT government and will be the largest single investment to addressing gambling in Indigenous communities in Australia.
ANU will partner with the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin and Amity Community Services Inc.
“National research has shown Aboriginal people experience significantly higher rates of gambling problems than non-Indigenous people,” said lead researcher Dr Marisa Fogarty.
“Research suggests that the best approach to addressing gambling issues is to work with Indigenous communities on the ground.”
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.”