Emeritus Professor Jon Altman

BA, University of Auckland MA (Hons), University of Auckland PhD (Anthropology), Australian National University
Emeritus Professor
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: 0419223757

Areas of expertise

  • Economic Development Policy 160505
  • Social Policy 160512
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Environmental Knowledge 050201
  • Studies Of Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Society 169902
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Policy 160501
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 160104
  • Natural Resource Management 050209
  • Labour Economics 140211
  • Public Policy 160510
  • Australian Government And Politics 160601
  • Heterodox Economics 149903
  • Environment And Resource Economics 140205
  • Applied Economics 1402

Research interests

Professor Altman's research interests include: Sustainable economic development and associated policy issues for Indigenous Australia; the hybrid economy framework; the economic engagement of Indigenous people with the Australian and global economies (especially in mining, tourism, arts industries and emerging industries); sustainable commercial utilisation of wildlife and fisheries; the Indigenous customary economy and its articulations with the market; land rights, native title and Indigenous land management; and theoretical issues in economic and development anthropology.

Professor Altman undertook fieldwork for his doctorate in the Maningrida region, central Arnhem Land in 1979-81 and has maintained vibrant and diverse research relations with this region for over twenty years. He has also undertaken field research in north Queensland, the Torres Strait, the Kimberleys and Central Australia.

Professor Altman is currently involved in a number of ARC projects including his own on 'Hybrid Economic Futures for Remote Indigenous Australia' and as a Chief Investigator on an ARC Linkage project 'More than a Roof Overhead: Meeting the Need for a Sustainable Housing System in Remote Indigenous Communities' based at RMIT University. Other research he is currently undertaking focuses on Indigenous interests in fresh water, as an adviser to the Indigenous Water Policy Group and the Northern Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA). A major project he is directing, largely sponsored by the Sidney Myer Trust, is the 'People On Country, Healthy Landscapes, and Indigenous Economic Futures' project that began in November 2007.

Jon maintains a research and policy advisory network with many Indigenous and other organisations. At the community level he works closely with the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation in Maningrida and the Laynhapuy Homelands Centre in Yirrkala; at a regional level he collaborates with the North Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Management Aliance (NAILSMA) and with the Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory and Aboriginal land councils that he advises. At the national level he works with the Australian Council for Social Services (ACOSS) and the Policy and Advocacy Committee of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.


Jon Altman is a an emeritus professor of the Australian National University located at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) in the Colleage of Asia and the Pacific. From 2016-2019 he was also research professor in anthropology at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University, Melbourne where he remains in an honorary capacity. He has a disciplinary background in economics and anthropology. Professor Altman held a number of post-doctoral research appointments at ANU before being appointed the foundation director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) from April 1990-April 2010. In 2003, Professor Altman was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and in 2012 an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Professor Altman was an ARC Australian Professorial Fellow (2008 to 2013) focusing his research efforts on the project 'Hybrid Economic Futures for Remote Indigenous Australia'.


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Updated:  21 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers