Page: vii-viii (2)
Author: Angela T. Ragusa
Page: 3-44 (42)
Author: Max Staples
PDF Price: $15
In contemporary Western societies, there is evidence of a widespread attitude that landscape can provide visual amenity to a community, and a view can give value to a vantage point, and each is therefore worth protecting. In question is the extent to which visual amenity is and should be protected when it conflicts with other interests. This chapter seeks to answer this question by considering the recognition and treatment of landscape and the view by the law. If the protections afforded to the view by both public and private law are weak, that is not the fault of the law. Rather it is a reflection of prevailing attitudes. Landscape is valued in art and literature, and paid lip service in planning legislation, but is not yet considered sufficiently valuable throughout Australian communities to override economic concerns. If, as seems likely, natural landscape and individual views become more rare, then communities will need to take more active steps to plan for them and put them in place, and we will require different and more forceful laws to defend them.
The Urban Push for Environmental Amenity: The Impact of Lifestyle Migration on Local Housing Markets and Communities
Page: 45-106 (62)
Author: Nicholas Osbaldiston and Felicity Picken
PDF Price: $15
Across the world the impact of lifestyle or amenity migration on small country and coastal townships has been a focal point for the social sciences. In this chapter, we examined coastal townships and regional places across the eastern coastline of Australia and the impact this migratory phenomenon has had on housing and development. Using statistical resources from a state government reporting authority, we analysed and tracked the changes in housing costs, both purchase and rental, since 2001. We also explored three different responses to development within towns that have grown significantly through this phenomenon which demonstrates that at times communities fight vehemently to protect their ‘sense of place’ through collective action. However, not all responses seek protection from lifestyle migrants and development. As this chapter shows, the division between those who have migrated to the place and local residents can sometimes spill over into public conflict over the destiny of the township. This is pointed directly at the notion to ‘protect from’ or ‘allow’ development to expand the boundaries of towns. From this perspective, the question of ‘authenticity’ that is embedded in different group perceptions becomes an ideal contest between groups and one that suggests that lifestyle migration is an inherently complex phenomenon.
Social and Economic Change in Rural Communities: The Lachlan Region of New South Wales Between the 1920s and 1940s
Page: 107-144 (38)
Author: Robert Tierney and Kevin A. Parton
PDF Price: $15
Using the Australian wheat belt region called the Lachlan Catchment, this chapter analyses the causes and consequences of population decline in rural Australia. While the Lachlan has distinct characteristics, there are general lessons to be learned for rural areas across the developed world. The economic depression of the 1930s, the Second World War, the march of farm mechanisation, and a drought lasting several years, conspired to accelerate change in the 1930s and 1940s in the Lachlan. The outcome was dislocation and severe hardship for some less mobile pockets of the population, particularly the older members of society, at a time before the introduction of government-provided social security. Despite an analysis of the various effects and highlighting similarities with other regions, there remain some unanswered questions such as why some towns in the Lachlan continue to be prosperous while others nearby have disappeared, remaining mere ‘localities’ on the map. By contextualising the observations in the Lachlan within the international literature, conclusions are drawn on general concerns about the social impacts of rural decline.
Resettling Refugees in Rural Areas: Africans, Burmese, Bhutanese and Afghans in the Riverina NSW, Australia
Page: 145-205 (61)
Author: Ndungi wa Mungai
PDF Price: $15
The chapter highlights some of the salient issues for new immigrants from a refugee background in the Riverina region of New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Each new group of migrants experiences settlement differently due to a wide range of factors relating to the migrants’ culture of origin as well as the culture of the host community. The selected groups of recent migrants to the Riverina examined in this research are the African and Burmese in Wagga Wagga (Wagga), Afghans in Griffith and Bhutanese in Albury. By employing exploratory and qualitative research methods, the study investigates how these four new communities have been experiencing settlement and gives voice to their experiences. The resettlement of people from refugee backgrounds in regional areas is an Australian government initiative reflecting similar situations in other migration countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom. Key objectives are to ease congestion in metropolitan areas, address labour shortage in some rural sectors, particularly agriculture, and reduce concentration of migrants in major cities. Some migrants with a refugee background also choose to relocate to rural and regional areas and tend to be attracted by affordable housing and employment in rural industries such as meatworks and farm work. This research found refugee immigrants appreciate the lifestyle and opportunities offered in rural Australia, but experienced difficulties related to limited services compared with metropolitan centres. Limitations largely related to the small size of rural communities which fail to attract the critical mass needed to provide some ethno-specific services.
The Impact of Rurality on Depression in Rural Australia: Socio- Cultural Reflections for Social Change
Page: 206-252 (47)
Author: Stephanie J. Johnson and Angela T. Ragusa
PDF Price: $15
Globally, depression is well known to be a major medical problem. In rural and remote communities, the condition often remains less visible than in urban locations. Geographical and infrastructural limitations pose additional challenges to its disclosure, documentation and treatment. Historically, depression was understood from a biomedical model characterised by an individualistic understanding. Thus, treatment of this mental illness has remained largely at an individual, rather than community, level. This chapter conceptualises major depression as a social problem impacted and shaped by systemic conditions that require a holistic understanding. Depression requires transcending an ‘ideology of individualism’ to be more successfully addressed and treated. To achieve this, sociological concepts, such as social capital, social networks, social isolation and others, are identified as paramount for re-conceptualising depression, which is understood to result from the dynamic relationship existing between individuals and their broader communities, including the natural environment. In this chapter, we commence this task through a critical literature review examining biomedical and alternative discourses and research literature on depression as a mental illness. Our objective is to demonstrate how the unique geospatial characteristics of rural and remote Australian communities pose unique challenges for the management and treatment of depression, particularly for women and other disadvantaged social groups. Although feminist and alternative discourses have largely remained outside mental health arenas, their potential to consider different bodies of evidence, such as the range of barriers rural and remote Australians face in accessing and utilising mental health services in comparison with urban counterparts, is argued invaluable to the treatment and prevention of major depression.
Page: 253-299 (47)
Author: Angela T. Ragusa and Andrew Crowther
PDF Price: $15
In Australia, nursing is a high-growth occupation. In part, this is due to the population’s increasing age, as well as its quantity of rural residents. National statistics show heightened ‘rurality’, sociologically understood as the degree to which an area is more rural than urban, heightens health care needs. This includes the need for mental health care services. Rural and remote Australia has fewer specialists, worse health care access and poses greater socioeconomic and geographical challenges, such as longer commutes and waiting lists for services, and greater environmental risk exposure, than urban Australia. Mental health nurses, therefore, are an invaluable resource whose skills and services supplement, and often replace, service gaps in health care provision in disadvantaged communities. Living and working in rural and remote communities, however, pose unique challenges. As individual employees, mental health nurses tend to struggle to achieve workplace satisfaction in environments challenged by systemic and demographic changes and inadequacies. Historical changes in the training and delivery of mental health nursing warrant in-depth exploration to better understand how socioenvironmental context may impact its needs and future success. This chapter commences the task by providing primary-collected focus group data collected in community and in-patient settings in rural New South Wales, Australia. By using a sociological lens, a qualitative, thematic analysis offers empirically-grounded insights into the challenges and perceptions mental health nurses face as healthcare providers. Findings will benefit both local and global audiences wishing to commence social change. Specifically, it may interest existing and future researchers and practitioners interested in healthcare delivery, occupational satisfaction or rural communities, as well as those broadly questioning how the dynamics of power, status and control affect the well-being of people and places.
Page: 300-337 (38)
Author: Jennifer Cox, Patricia Logan and Alicia Curtis
PDF Price: $15
The Australian population continues to age, creating an ever-increasing reliance on health services and health workers. This ageing phenomenon is occurring even more rapidly in non-metropolitan areas. Like many other countries, there are acute shortages of health workers in rural and remote areas of Australia. Students who train in rural areas are more likely to work in rural areas upon graduation. Therefore, regional universities are the mainstay for provision of new graduates to the rural health sector. These students have a more diverse demographic and educational profile than their metropolitan peers and enter university with identified risk factors for non-completion of their degree. New governmentdriven funding targets prioritise student retention more than ever before. Research efforts in the education sector are therefore being directed at understanding the changing nature of student cohorts and mediating risk factors to enable equal chances of student success. This chapter presents a case study of one student cohort (n=529) at a regional/rural multicampus Australian university undertaken to characterise the nursing and paramedic students of regional, rural and remote Australia and identify the challenges facing nonmetropolitan students. The findings reveal that a high proportion of enrolled students have more than one factor that has been identified with non-completion of tertiary study. The revelation of this study concerns determining how students entering the university with multiple risk factors do succeed given that statistical analysis indicates attrition should in fact be higher than recorded.
Page: 338-379 (42)
Author: Oliver K. Burmeister
PDF Price: $15
The focus of this chapter is on demonstrating the utility of communication technologies for increasing socialisation amongst rural and regional seniors. The chapter starts with a review of the literature showing links between increased social interaction and the well-being of seniors. Findings from two interpretive, ethnographic studies are presented. The first initiative, introducing technology at a rural retirement village, and the second initiative, introducing rural and regional seniors to online social interaction, both illustrate that technology can improve seniors’ well-being and decrease social isolation. Motivations of retirement village staff, peer trainers and seniors who were novice Internet users are explored. The value of peer training, accessibility and the need novice senior Internet users have for more time to learn to use communication technologies were amongst the key findings.
Page: 380-415 (36)
Author: Megan Smith
PDF Price: $15
World-wide rural residents do not have equal health status compared to metropolitan populations or equitable access to quality health care. There is a complex, inter-related and multi-factorial range of factors contributing to the existence of ruralmetropolitan health differentials, of which access to an adequate health workforce is a key factor. Recognition of the factors contributing to rural health status and the adequacy of the rural health workforce has spurned a range of proposed strategies to address the issues. A number of these strategies relate to the education of the future health workforce. This chapter provides a contemporary discussion of developing a rural health workforce and uses this as a lens to critically review the practice of workplace learning as an educational strategy and focus on innovative methods of workplace learning being developed at an Australian University. The aim of the inquiry is to identify implications for the conduct of workplace learning in rural locations where the intent is to address the issues of supply of a rural health workforce, access to quality healthcare in rural locations and ultimately improve the health status of rural communities.
Page: 416-472 (57)
Author: Susan Mlcek
PDF Price: $15
The juxtaposition of doing ‘more with less’, and ‘being privileged to be a community welfare worker’ gives some indication of the anomalies present in how human service work is conceived and manifested. The contribution of this chapter is to provide further knowledge and understanding of the nature, level and extent of paucity management models to inform the way community welfare services (human services) are delivered in rural communities. Paucity management relates to the way that managers identify and utilise strategies to counter the anomaly of possessing a deep philosophical underpinning in the value of community work, with the lack of means to meet all the needs and expectations of community members.
Fifteen managers from the Central West Region of New South Wales in Australia were asked to share work narratives about the way their activities contributed to sustaining their communities (Mlcek, 2008). The research confirmed yet again that community services are delivered strategically in spite of, or because of, a resource-poor environment that is mainly punctuated by the non-availability of ever-decreasing funds (Mlcek, 2008). New ways of seeking resources have resulted in managers and workers navigating competing priorities at ground level, with trying to balance the tensions implicit in a directive provider-purchaser work dynamic that has seen the evolvement of the hybrid government organisation. One of several useful considerations addressed in this chapter relates to the ‘look’ of models of paucity management and especially in relation to, how they were utilised to enable useful engagement in an era of hybridisation.
Water, An Essential Resource and Potential Health Risk! Rural Perceptions, Awareness and Knowledge of Health Risks
Page: 473-514 (42)
Author: Andrea Crampton
PDF Price: $15
Most people in developed nations give little regard to the water that comes out of the tap, considering water quality to be a ‘third world issue’. This chapter presents findings from three years of research on residents’ perceptions of drinking water quality across eastern Australia, including those who manage their own water. The findings and discussions are framed within the health literacy discourse and demonstrate how present water quality reporting practices fail to enable consumers to develop adequate health literacy about their drinking water. The impact of current practices limiting health literacy development is identified as having a greater impact on rural and regional residents than on urban counterparts. This variation is noted as due to differences in risk perceptions facilitated by population size-based testing regimes that do not take into account regionally specific risks. Levels of health literacy are demonstrated through respondents’ comments in relation to a well publicised issue, fluoride, and an issue the population may have basic knowledge about yet not necessarily associated with drinking water, agriculture. The chapter concludes by advocating information dissemination strategies that appropriately address community concerns and preferred means of knowledge attainment and engagement. This call for an effective strategy is tempered by acknowledging the need to ensure residents are able to identify suitable, trustworthy experts.
Page: 515-567 (53)
Author: Derek Motion and David Gilbey
PDF Price: $15
This chapter analyses the production and composition of several of the fourW anthologies of new writing as an index of rural and regional identity and their relationship to national and international contexts of writing. fourW’s ‘glocal’ significance was argued for, in contexts of Australian literary production, and some of the ways contributors’ works are positioned and networked with respect to Australian and international writing were discussed. The roles of Charles Sturt University and Australian literary scholarship in shaping fourW’s production and reputation have been examined, as has the notion of rurality/regionality as imagined geographies. Some consideration was given to fourW’s intersection with digital technologies, and the manner in which global literary activity can increasingly be seen as a ‘network’.
In our increasingly global world, individuals are highly mobile and interconnected. Politics, policies and technologies foster interconnection amongst and within countries as individuals relocate from one place to another. One key issue facing developed and developing countries is urban overcrowding. In Australia, urban density is one factor prompting institutions and individuals to embrace ‘rural revival’ as a possible solution to urban congestion and rural decline. In the past decade, rural Australia has received heightened publicity and interest as a lifestyle destination encouraged by national decentralization policies to alleviate urban overcrowding, particularly the metropolises Melbourne and Sydney, regional councils’ marketing initiatives and international refugee relocation. Rural communities struggle in contrast with urban counterparts for several, often complex, reasons. The ‘realities’ of rural life are frequently marginalized while marketing campaigns evoke stereotypical imagery of idyllic lifestyles and bucolic pastures to sell dreams of country bliss to fatigued urbanites. This edited e-book is a collection of articles that explores ‘rural realities’ of country life in Australia for global audiences interested in rurality, health and well-being. By transcending disciplinary-specific boundaries, this multi-disciplinary book not only presents contemporary challenges, but also equips readers with evidence-based knowledge to improve resilience in communities and individuals facing key issues such as aging, depression, disability, environmental degradation, limited service delivery and social isolation. Utilizing a variety of social science research methods, each chapter will enhance readers’ insights about rural amenities, geography, identity, culture, health and governance which impact wellbeing and lifestyle satisfaction. Collectively, this book exposes readers to ideas from a dynamic range of experts in the humanities, social and natural sciences to encourage a holistic approach to developing solutions for a complex social world. The content of this volume will interest a wide audience of graduates and undergraduates, researchers, professional practitioners and policymakers involved with non-profit and government organizations, and interested community members.