Sara Hudson

Expertise: Indigenous programs and funding, economic development, health, housing, alcohol restrictions and criminal justice.

Sara Hudson has published widely on Indigenous policy for the CIS, with a particular focus on Indigenous programs, economic development, health and criminal justice.  The latest program of research is called The Prosperity Project and is examining positive strategies for Indigenous economic growth. Her ground-breaking research report, Mapping the Indigenous program and funding maze received nation-wide coverage when it was released in August 2016.

She is the author of a chapter in a book ‘In Black & White: Australians All at the Crossroads’, and research papers on Justice reinvestmentAboriginal Health Worker trainingalcohol restrictions in Indigenous communities and Indigenous health among others.   Sara has had over 70 opinion editorials published in newspapers across Australia, including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Age, The Australian Financial Review, The Western Australian, The Advertiser and the Northern Territory News, as well as numerous appearances on radio and television.

The impact of Sara’s work has been publically recognised by policy makers and Indigenous leaders and she is regularly invited to discuss her research and to present at conferences. Her work has also been cited in a number of government reports and peer-reviewed journals.

Sara’s future work at the CIS will focus on growing the evidence base for more effective Indigenous programs and improved service delivery, as well as Indigenous economic development, with a particular focus on Indigenous and non-Indigenous business partnerships.

See the Indigenous Affairs webpage to learn more about our research program – The Prosperity Project. An exciting initiative which aims to bring likeminded individuals together to drive the agenda for change.

Prior to working at the CIS, Sara worked as a senior consultant with a professional social research consultancy firm and as a policy advisor and evaluator for the New Zealand government. She has a Bachelor of Arts with first-class honours in criminology and anthropology from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.

As a consultant Sara wrote/contributed to the following publicly released reports:

Enabling Prosperity: Success Factors for Indigenous Economic Development  (Westpac)

Evaluation of the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development (Australian Government)

Descriptive Analysis of the Strong Fathers Strong Families Programme (Australian Government)


Featured Publication

  • Submission to Productivity Commission - Draft report: Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services 14 July 2017 | CIS Submission
    The Productivity Commission (PC) released a draft report proposing reforms to increased competition, contestability and informed user choice to human services. CIS responded to the PC’s report with a submission covering two issues raised in the draft report: social housing…...
    The Productivity Commission (PC) released a draft report proposing reforms to increased competition, contestability and informed user choice to human services. CIS responded to the PC’s report with a submission covering two issues raised in the draft report: social housing…
    READ MORE

Media & Commentary

  • Increasing community control over Indigenous land management 13 October 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre
    The winds of change are beginning to blow in the Northern Territory, with the Northern Land Council announcing they are willing to explore devolving some of their decision-making powers to East Arnhem Land’s Baniyala Nimbarrki Land Authority Aboriginal Corporation (as…
    The winds of change are beginning to blow in the Northern Territory, with the Northern Land Council announcing they are willing to explore devolving some of their decision-making powers to East Arnhem Land’s Baniyala Nimbarrki Land Authority Aboriginal Corporation (as…
    read more
  • Indigenous housing deja vu 08 September 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre
    Despite billions of dollars and numerous government programs to improve Indigenous living conditions, social housing in many remote communities continues to be poorly maintained, overcrowded and dilapidated. Even ardent socialist HC “Nugget” Coombs despaired at the state of Indigenous housing,…
    Despite billions of dollars and numerous government programs to improve Indigenous living conditions, social housing in many remote communities continues to be poorly maintained, overcrowded and dilapidated. Even ardent socialist HC “Nugget” Coombs despaired at the state of Indigenous housing,…
    read more
  • Despair beneath the boab tree 11 August 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre
    There is a stark contrast between the beauty of the Kimberley and the sense of despair enveloping many of the people living there. The State Coroner is currently conducting an inquest into the suicide of 13 Aboriginal people living in…
    There is a stark contrast between the beauty of the Kimberley and the sense of despair enveloping many of the people living there. The State Coroner is currently conducting an inquest into the suicide of 13 Aboriginal people living in…
    read more
  • Make NAIDOC money count 07 July 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre
    This year’s NAIDOC week saw Australia celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. And in light of recent news about the appalling suicide rate of Indigenous Australians, with children as young as 7 showing…
    This year’s NAIDOC week saw Australia celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. And in light of recent news about the appalling suicide rate of Indigenous Australians, with children as young as 7 showing…
    read more
  • Co-accountability in Indigenous program evaluation and service delivery 09 June 2017 | Croakey
    Earlier this year, in response to damning reports about the evaluation and funding of Indigenous programs, the federal government announced $40 million over four years to improve the evaluation process. However, as Fred Chaney, said at a Productivity Commission roundtable…
    Earlier this year, in response to damning reports about the evaluation and funding of Indigenous programs, the federal government announced $40 million over four years to improve the evaluation process. However, as Fred Chaney, said at a Productivity Commission roundtable…
    read more

Publications

  • Evaluating Indigenous programs: a toolkit for change 04 June 2017 | RR28
    The federal government recently announced it will allocate $10 million a year over four years to strengthen the evaluation of Indigenous programs. However, given that the average cost of an evaluation is $382,000, the extra $10 million a year for Indigenous program evaluations will not go far. To make the…...
    The federal government recently announced it will allocate $10 million a year over four years to strengthen the evaluation of Indigenous programs. However, given that the average cost of an evaluation is $382,000, the extra $10 million a year for Indigenous program evaluations will not go far. To make the…
    READ MORE
  • Submission to the Queensland Productivity Commission on: Service Delivery in remote and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities 02 June 2017 | CIS Submission
    The Inquiry into service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders closely aligns with the CIS’s focus on Indigenous service delivery and achieving better outcomes for Indigenous peoples as part of our Prosperity Project. The Prosperity Project is a program of research focused on the practical measures that will enable…...
    The Inquiry into service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders closely aligns with the CIS’s focus on Indigenous service delivery and achieving better outcomes for Indigenous peoples as part of our Prosperity Project. The Prosperity Project is a program of research focused on the practical measures that will enable…
    READ MORE
  • Submission to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet – Consultation Paper: Indigenous Business Sector Strategy 26 May 2017 | CIS Submission
    We believe supporting Indigenous businesses contributes to Indigenous empowerment. Unlike program delivery, which tends to be a more passive form of support, supporting Indigenous businesses is an active form of assistance. A multiplier effect occurs when people own a business that goes beyond the financial benefits to the local economy....
    We believe supporting Indigenous businesses contributes to Indigenous empowerment. Unlike program delivery, which tends to be a more passive form of support, supporting Indigenous businesses is an active form of assistance. A multiplier effect occurs when people own a business that goes beyond the financial benefits to the local economy.
    READ MORE
  • Submission to the Productivity Commission on the Preliminary Findings Report: Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services: Identifying Sectors for Reform 27 October 2016 | CIS Submission
    To improve Indigenous outcomes, there needs to be better management of overall funding and a strategy to coordinate how programs are delivered.
    To improve Indigenous outcomes, there needs to be better management of overall funding and a strategy to coordinate how programs are delivered.
    READ MORE
  • Mapping the Indigenous Program and Funding Maze 23 August 2016 | Research Report 18
    There is much goodwill in Australia to improve Indigenous outcomes. However, too many programs are implemented because of their perceived benefit, rather than a rigorous assessment of what works. This research report maps the number of government and non-government Indigenous programs and potential level of duplication among different program providers…...
    There is much goodwill in Australia to improve Indigenous outcomes. However, too many programs are implemented because of their perceived benefit, rather than a rigorous assessment of what works. This research report maps the number of government and non-government Indigenous programs and potential level of duplication among different program providers…
    READ MORE
  • Submission to the Parliament of NSW Standing Committee on State Development: Inquiry into economic development in Aboriginal communities 12 February 2016 | CIS Submission
    In seeking to improve Indigenous economic development outcomes it is important to recognise that high levels of Indigenous disadvantage are not related to Indigeneity but are the result of ineffective policies and lack of opportunity — specifically in relation to education, employment and private enterprise. It is also important to…...
    In seeking to improve Indigenous economic development outcomes it is important to recognise that high levels of Indigenous disadvantage are not related to Indigeneity but are the result of ineffective policies and lack of opportunity — specifically in relation to education, employment and private enterprise. It is also important to…
    READ MORE
  • Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the value of a justice reinvestment approach to criminal justice in Australia 17 November 2013
    To address the underlying causes of Indigenous offending, we need to focus on education and employment—not be waylaid into thinking the answer lies with yet more ‘culturally appropriate’ or ‘Indigenous distinct’ programs. Education and employment may not sound as novel or exciting as Justice Reinvestment, but evidence shows both play…...
    To address the underlying causes of Indigenous offending, we need to focus on education and employment—not be waylaid into thinking the answer lies with yet more ‘culturally appropriate’ or ‘Indigenous distinct’ programs. Education and employment may not sound as novel or exciting as Justice Reinvestment, but evidence shows both play…
    READ MORE
  • Panacea to Prison? Justice Reinvestment in Indigenous Communities 31 January 2013 | PM134
    High Indigenous incarceration rates have elicited a long list of so-called solutions over the years. Since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC), countless reports and programs have aimed to reduce the Indigenous incarceration rate. Yet the percentage of Aboriginal people in custody has continued to rise,…...
    High Indigenous incarceration rates have elicited a long list of so-called solutions over the years. Since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC), countless reports and programs have aimed to reduce the Indigenous incarceration rate. Yet the percentage of Aboriginal people in custody has continued to rise,…
    READ MORE
  • Sustainability of Indigenous Communities 20 December 2012 | OP127
    Social indicators of Indigenous disadvantage prove that the orthodox methods of delivering services to Indigenous people have not worked. The failure of these methods is also indicated by the proliferation of approaches trying to work around established orthodoxies. This paper sets out an alternative process, based on successful developmental methodologies…...
    Social indicators of Indigenous disadvantage prove that the orthodox methods of delivering services to Indigenous people have not worked. The failure of these methods is also indicated by the proliferation of approaches trying to work around established orthodoxies. This paper sets out an alternative process, based on successful developmental methodologies…
    READ MORE
  • Charlatan Training: How Aboriginal Health Workers Are Being Short-changed 21 March 2012 | PM127
    Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs) have been short changed. They have not only been provided with charlatan training but also sold a charlatan role. The amount of training they receive does not match the level of responsibility expected of them, and there are few opportunities for promotion within the profession. Overall,…...
    Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs) have been short changed. They have not only been provided with charlatan training but also sold a charlatan role. The amount of training they receive does not match the level of responsibility expected of them, and there are few opportunities for promotion within the profession. Overall,…
    READ MORE
  • Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People 18 November 2011
    Australia has a serious problem in low participation in higher education by students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Indigenous children from urban welfare dependent families, just like non-Indigenous children from similar welfare dependent backgrounds, have very low participation in higher education. The mainstream schools they attend – so called ‘sink’ schools…...
    Australia has a serious problem in low participation in higher education by students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Indigenous children from urban welfare dependent families, just like non-Indigenous children from similar welfare dependent backgrounds, have very low participation in higher education. The mainstream schools they attend – so called ‘sink’ schools…
    READ MORE
  • Submission to Remote Participation and Employment Servicing Arrangements 11 October 2011
    The Discussion Paper’s focus on participation and employment in remote Indigenous communities is welcome because it distinguishes remote communities from the majority of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. But it does deal with the inappropriate government policies that are the cause of low remote Indigenous labour force participation and high…...
    The Discussion Paper’s focus on participation and employment in remote Indigenous communities is welcome because it distinguishes remote communities from the majority of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. But it does deal with the inappropriate government policies that are the cause of low remote Indigenous labour force participation and high…
    READ MORE
  • Alcohol Restrictions in Indigenous Communities and Frontier Towns 06 April 2011 | PM116
    The double standards applied to the enforcement of liquor legislation have contributed to the alcohol problems present in many Indigenous communities. People have the right to be able to feel safe in their towns and communities and not to have to witness or experience alcohol related violence, so some controls…...
    The double standards applied to the enforcement of liquor legislation have contributed to the alcohol problems present in many Indigenous communities. People have the right to be able to feel safe in their towns and communities and not to have to witness or experience alcohol related violence, so some controls…
    READ MORE
  • Submission to the Indigenous Sub-committee of the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Services Provision. 2011 31 January 2011
    Submission to the Indigenous Sub-committee of the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Services Provision.Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage or Perpetuating Indigenous Disadvantage?
    Submission to the Indigenous Sub-committee of the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Services Provision.Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage or Perpetuating Indigenous Disadvantage?
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  • FaHCSIA Indigenous Economic Development Strategy 2010 17 December 2010
    Governments state that their objective is for Indigenous townships to develop and prosper like
    Governments state that their objective is for Indigenous townships to develop and prosper like
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  • Submission to Indigenous Home Ownership Issues Paper 2010 15 December 2010
    Part 1 of this submission shows that incorrect data and lack of analysis on Indigenous home ownership continues to mislead policy development. It has resulted in government policies that make it impossible for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders to own their own homes on Indigenous lands.
    Part 1 of this submission shows that incorrect data and lack of analysis on Indigenous home ownership continues to mislead policy development. It has resulted in government policies that make it impossible for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders to own their own homes on Indigenous lands.
    READ MORE
  • Submission to Native Title Leading Practice Agreements Discussion Paper 2010 30 November 2010
    The Native Title process is only one of the processes returning land to traditional owners. The lack of benefits to the Indigenous landowners from the process, however, is due to policies that affect all return of Indigenous land.
    The Native Title process is only one of the processes returning land to traditional owners. The lack of benefits to the Indigenous landowners from the process, however, is due to policies that affect all return of Indigenous land.
    READ MORE
  • Private Housing on Indigenous Lands 17 November 2010 | PM113
    Almost 20% of Australia and almost 50% of the Northern Territory are Indigenous lands. Yet Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders cannot build their own houses on them. Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders living on their lands have the lowest living standards in Australia. They cannot access the benefits of the land they…...
    Almost 20% of Australia and almost 50% of the Northern Territory are Indigenous lands. Yet Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders cannot build their own houses on them. Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders living on their lands have the lowest living standards in Australia. They cannot access the benefits of the land they…
    READ MORE
  • Healthy Stores, Healthy Communities: The Impact of Outback Stores on Remote Indigenous Australians 17 June 2010 | IA122
    Indigenous Australians, especially those living in remote communities, have some of the worst health outcomes in the world. Diets heavy in refined sugars, saturated fats, and salt mean that conditions such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are now much more common amongst Indigenous Australians than they were…...
    Indigenous Australians, especially those living in remote communities, have some of the worst health outcomes in the world. Diets heavy in refined sugars, saturated fats, and salt mean that conditions such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are now much more common amongst Indigenous Australians than they were…
    READ MORE
  • Closing the Accountability Gap: The First Step Towards Better Indigenous Health 03 December 2009 | PM105
    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s pledge to ‘Close the Gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes was perceived as a long overdue landmark, but its achievement will require more than yet another government strategy or more funding. The Rudd government is doing what previous administrations have always done—throwing more and more…...
    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s pledge to ‘Close the Gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes was perceived as a long overdue landmark, but its achievement will require more than yet another government strategy or more funding. The Rudd government is doing what previous administrations have always done—throwing more and more…
    READ MORE
  • New Inquiry — Remote Community Stores in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Communities 2009 29 July 2009
    Communities in the Northern Territory and in other native title areas need to have private property rights if they are to have real economies, with the retail facilities of other small Australian towns.  
    Communities in the Northern Territory and in other native title areas need to have private property rights if they are to have real economies, with the retail facilities of other small Australian towns.  
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  • From Rhetoric to Reality: Can 99-year Leases Lead to Homeownership for Indigenous Communities? 05 March 2009 | PM92
    The lack of private property rights on communal title land has prevented Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders from becoming homeowners. Even for those who can afford to purchase a house, banks will not provide financing for home loans without legal title over land. But the choice to become a homeowner…...
    The lack of private property rights on communal title land has prevented Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders from becoming homeowners. Even for those who can afford to purchase a house, banks will not provide financing for home loans without legal title over land. But the choice to become a homeowner…
    READ MORE
  • CDEP: Help or Hindrance? The Community Development Employment Program and its Impact on Indigenous Australians 02 July 2008 | PM86
    Established more than thirty years ago, the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program has expanded to range from substituting for local government services to offering payment for housework and attendance at funerals. Despite a fall in participation, CDEP expenditure has continued to rise, to more than $550 million a year…...
    Established more than thirty years ago, the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program has expanded to range from substituting for local government services to offering payment for housework and attendance at funerals. Despite a fall in participation, CDEP expenditure has continued to rise, to more than $550 million a year…
    READ MORE
  • Submission to the Senate Select Committee on Regional and Remote Indigenous Communities 2008 20 March 2008
    Submission to the Senate Select Committee on Regional and Remote Indigenous Communities 2008. The findings of this research indicate that while the original intentions of CDEP may have been admirable, the way CDEP evolved has hin-dered rather than helped Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in finding permanent employment....
    Submission to the Senate Select Committee on Regional and Remote Indigenous Communities 2008. The findings of this research indicate that while the original intentions of CDEP may have been admirable, the way CDEP evolved has hin-dered rather than helped Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in finding permanent employment.
    READ MORE