ERIC Number: ED447984
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Impact of Declining Rural Infrastructure.
McKenzie, Fiona Haslem
A study investigated the impact of declining rural community infrastructure on social, environmental, and economic well-being in Western Australia's central wheatbelt. Questionnaires were completed by 398 residents of the central wheatbelt, on-farm interviews were conducted with 68 respondents, and 4 focus groups were held in area towns. Respondents reported that while farm income increased during the previous 10 years, disposable income decreased. Few respondents were confident that their children would live close by in adulthood due to lack of work opportunities. General health services were a concern, but participants were prepared to live with the current service provided it was not further reduced. However, mental health was a recurring issue, with many indicating that mental health issues encompassed unresolved family issues and sustained stress and were having a direct impact on the economic viability of some enterprises. Lack of telecommunications service and loss of banking and postal services contributed to a business drain from small communities. The reduction of social services especially affected women, who were leaving because of isolation and limited support. Declining enrollment threatened the survival of some schools. In addition, many parents reported that they would move or send their children away if good education was not locally available, thus further impacting enrollment. The rural voting population is not large enough to persuade politicians to subsidize rural infrastructure, so the rationalization trend will likely continue. Withdrawal of infrastructure and services based exclusively on economic reasons does not consider human or environmental implications. A national holistic plan that acknowledges human needs and social equity should be implemented. (Contains 62 references and the survey questionnaire.) (TD)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Community Services, Farmers, Foreign Countries, Geographic Isolation, Human Services, Parent Aspiration, Public Policy, Quality of Life, Retrenchment, Rural Areas, Rural Education, Rural Farm Residents, Rural Women, Small Towns, Well Being
For full text: http://www.rirdc.gov.au/reports/HCC/99_173.pdf.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Barton (Australia).
Identifiers - Location: Australia