Providing Social Care Services in Rural Australia: A review

Robyn Mason

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The features of Australia's rural context have been explored by social researchers over the past two decades, and we now have a growing body of knowledge about how rural Australians live. There is also an emerging literature about rural social care practice. As a service provider, my interest is in how services are planned and implemented, in the light of the Australian rural context. This paper reviews the relevant literature in the emerging field of Australian rural social care service provision, organised under five main headings or research threads. These are: urbo-centric issues; generalist and specialist practice issues; challenges in recruitment, retention and support; boundary problems of living in small communities; and access to services. Analysis of the research in this way suggests that there is not yet a strong theoretical base in this field, with the literature dominated by practice accounts and case studies. A solid base for rural social research, in partnership with rural communities, is required in Australian universities, especially those located in rural Australia, if the gaps are to be filled and the promise of this emerging field is to be realized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-51
Number of pages12
JournalRural Social Work and Community Practice
Issue numberDecember 2006
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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