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Social and economic impacts of drought on farm families and rural communities: submission to the Drought Policy Review Expert Social Panel

  • Year: 2008
  • Author: Edwards, Ben,; Gray, Matthew; Hunter, Boyd
  • Publisher: Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • Published Location: Melbourne, Vic
  • Country: Australia

As one part of the Australian Government's National Review of Drought Policy, an assessment of the social impacts of drought on farm families and rural communities was undertaken by an expert panel. To support this inquiry, this submission provides preliminary information from the Regional and Rural Families Survey, which includes estimates of the social and economic impact of drought on families in regional and rural Australia. This study involves a survey of 8,000 people living in rural and regional areas of Australia, a large-scale nationally representative sample that allows valid comparisons to be made between droughtaffected and other areas. Information is included on community social cohesion and participation, residential mobility, financial wellbeing, household incomes and levels of financial hardship, employment, economic impacts, relationship health and family functionality, and mental and physical health. The submission outlines the key findings and points for policy, and describes the methodology and survey results. Though it is difficult to measure the social and economic impacts of drought, this study shows there are substantial impacts of drought that cannot be ignored.

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