Decades of intervention have made variable impact on the inequality between indigenous and non-indigenous well-being across the world. Unacceptable differences in life expectancy alone mark indigenous need as an area where greater understanding of public and private funding approaches and their interaction may deliver real benefits. Both the public and the third sector have been active in trying to address the disadvantage experienced by Australia’s indigenous people. The interaction between the indigenous cause philanthropy system and the wider geopolitical landscape in Australia is revealing barriers and insights that may apply in other challenging policy terrain. The research reported here draws upon two empirical studies aimed at understanding the issues facing philanthropy in Australia,including the impact of government agency both independently and as it contrasts with philanthropy. The two different cultures are evident and two levers (greater system flexibility and closer engagement) are suggested as important in moving forward the\ud philanthropy/government relationship in this area
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