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Socio-economic wellbeing in Australian mining towns: A comparative analysis

  • Year: 2012
  • Author: Tonts, M., Plummer, P., Lawrie, M.
  • Journal Name: Journal of Rural Studies
  • Journal Number: 28(3)
  • Country: Australia

Understanding the links between resource dependence and socio-economic wellbeing has long been a subject of interest amongst social scientists in North America. By contrast, relatively few Australian studies exist on this topic. This is despite the significant role of resource industries in shaping Australia's economic and social geography. Where research has been undertaken it tends to focus on the experience of a single town or region. This paper presents a cross-sectional analysis of socio-economic performance across 33 small mining towns in Western Australia. We design and test a number of empirical models that are hypothesised to account for the variability in socio-economic performance across different resource industry contexts. The results of the analysis suggest that socio-economic wellbeing in these towns is highly variable, and contingent on a range of factors including the nature of the particular commodity, company structure, and location.

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