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The Advantage of Social Indicators in Strengthening Rural Communities: Lessons from Mildura, Victoria

  • Martin Hawson
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter explores how Mildura Rural City Council has used its rural advantage to build community capacity, through the development of an innovative, evidence-based social planning framework that addresses the by-products of Mildura’s social, economic and environmental realities. In Mildura, the advantage of being an aspirational and self-determining rural community has enabled the development of the Community Engagement Framework (CEF), which is now recognised as an important determinant of community wellbeing. It provides ‘food for thought’ when a rural community commits itself to becoming ‘the most liveable, people-friendly community in Australia’; and then remains steadfast in that resolve in the face of livelihood-threatening water shortages, drought and floods. In this context, it is important that the main theme of this chapter – the development of a planning tool based in social indicators – is considered amongst several other influences. This chapter thus summarises the background of some important historical/cultural, individual and organisational agents, and even fortuitous drivers of efforts to strengthen rural community life. The key message is that to address social disadvantage, the community must work consistently at all levels on the underlying root causes of regional problems. Furthermore, to increase a community’s sphere of influence, it must be able to convince government and funding bodies to address key priorities within the community, rather than responding to broad, generic government objectives and approaches. Mildura’s innovative approach to rural advantage enables a focus, a determination and a will to ensure that the regional will continually strive together to achieve improved outcomes, for Mildura as well as for the nation.

Keywords

Social Capital Operational Group Chief Executive Officer Social Indicator Crime Prevention 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Further Reading

  1. Ashworth, K., Cebulla, A., Greenberg, D., & Walker, R. (2004). Meta-evaluation: Discovering what works best in welfare provision. Evaluation, 10(2), 193–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cabinet Office (2001). Better policy delivery and design: A discussion paper (London: Cabinet Office) www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/innovation/whatsnew/betterpolicy.shtml.
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  4. Mildura Regional City website: http://www.mildura.vic.gov.au/index.asp?h=−1
  5. Mildura Rural City Council (undated). Community engagement framework. Mildura.Google Scholar
  6. Mildura Rural City Council: Council Plan 2003–2006, Mildura.Google Scholar
  7. Vinson, T. (2004). Community adversity and resilience, the distribution of social disadvantage in Victoria and New South Wales and the mediating role of social cohesion. Richmond: The Ignatius Centre. March.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mildura Rural City CouncilMilduraAustralia

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