Community service workers’ experiences following Australia’s Black Summer: Contextualising rural service provision

Madeline Rusconi, Heather Boetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Australian Black Summer season of 2019–2020 caused widespread social, economic, and environmental impacts for affected rural communities. In this article, the authors report on a small study exploring postdisaster service provision from the perspectives of community service workers following the Australian Black Summer season. Using a qualitative, semistructured design, six community service workers were interviewed about their experiences delivering postdisaster services to affected rural communities. Three themes emerged from a thematic analysis. These themes were impacts of rurality, accounting for diversity, and the influencing policy context. The Findings underscore rurality as a context-specific characteristic intersecting with social identities in a broader sociopolitical system. Implications suggest the need to address persisting rural inequities that cause cumulative disadvantage and advocate for policy change to address service system gaps. IMPLICATIONS Structural inequities in rural communities continue to shape the experiences of residents impacted by disasters causing cumulative disadvantage. Diversity within and between neighbouring communities and population groups requires consideration of the heterogeneity of rural contexts. The policy context constrains aspects of rural service provision causing adverse impacts on affected residents’ experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-268
Number of pages13
JournalAustralian Social Work
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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