Putting Australia’s rural and regional resilience to the test


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The challenge of saving Australia’s regional towns isn’t just about preserving heritage. Thankfully, the ability to bounce back from industry closures, economic disaster or environmental challenges can be predicted with a new approach.

By any measure, Australia could be considered a resilient country, having weathered countless economic and environmental challenges.

The resilience of Australia’s regional communities is particularly entrenched — mostly connected to concepts of ecology, psychology and engineering, and more recently, in the context of a shock, disaster or adversity.

As resilience becomes increasingly vital to ensure the future of country areas, the concept is finding its way into academic debate and government policy documents. Framed in the concept of “regional capacity”, it contemplates how well placed local and regional economies are to adapt to factors such as the rise of global competition, unplanned major plant closures and the technological innovation revolutionising current work practices.

The notion of regional resilience is dynamic, as it focuses on a region’s ability to respond to shocks, either by maintaining a pre-existing state, or by returning to its previous level or rate of output, employment or population growth.

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