In his Opening Address, Bill Gray, Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Northern Development, gave an overview of social policy developments in Northern Australia. Peter Saunders' paper addresses issues of welfare and inequality in Australia in the current decade, with particular reference to the policy responses to movements in the economy. In his paper, Bill Tyler, the Director of the Centre for Social Research at NTU, examines the work of the Australian Bureau of Statistics in constructing indexes of social inequality and the particular case of replication of that methodology to apply to North Australia. Anthony King, from the SPRC, reviews the case for a regional dimension in the provision of income support. Michael Fine, also from the SPRC, describes innovations and changes in long-term care and the challenges they present. In her paper, Rebecca Orr of Mental Health Services in Darwin, describes community care and accommodation models developed in the Northern Territory and looks critically at the situation of people suffering from mental illness in the wake of the release of the Burdekin Report.