Abstract: This document is a sample. It is an example that has been developed to demonstrate a concept – the type of product that could emerge from a body of research, were it to be supported for a given timeframe. The date on the front cover is no mistake – the report is a sketch of what a document might look like in 2006 – following two years of funding that followed from a pilot study that finished in 2004. The topic this research is tackling is both complex and challenging – no less than identifying, describing and linking the core social issues affecting sustainability of Outback communities. Understanding, leave alone solving, this suite of complex issues, and their interactions is beyond current social research. To the authors’ knowledge, no existing document has come close to this goal. The order is tall and the research team and the funding agencies supporting the work couldn’t even imagine what such a project – and its outputs – would involve. Precedents that review social and economic dimensions across Australia are few and characterised by statements such as ‘no data available’. This is partly because research and associated funding for social dimensions of environment and sustainability in general are only recently emerging as priorities in a natural resource management context. The Australian Outback represents a context where the connections between social, environmental and economic dimensions are inherently meaningful to those who live there. These connections are fundamental to people’s livelihoods – links between farm and family, people and country. This sample discussion paper represents an indicative map in poorly charted territory, but where people are confident that the issues are inherently important. It is not a work entirely of fiction, nor does it take an unprecedented format. Rather it is more like an extrapolation based on the issues encountered in the pilot study, and the format is adapted from a tangible and widely recognised piece of innovative work – the discussion document that emerged from a series of workshops on defining and managing healthy savannas (Whitehead et al. 2000). This precedent was focussed on the ecology of the savannas, but emphasised the need for further work in the social and economic fields. Such a document does not yet exist, but it may, should the current pilot study lead onto a further stage. Considering the pages before you we ask you not to judge the current document on the breadth of the data, nor on the accuracy of the analysis, for it would certainly disappoint, as it is not even possible to write such a document without first conducting the research. By contrast, judge the document on its ability to illustrate a complex and difficult idea based on a short period of pilot research, for which it has some hope of achieving its purpose. 1 Introduction 1.1 The importance of partnerships in Outback areas 1.2 A focus on health and livelihoods 1.3 Aims of this research 2 Conceptualising health and viability in Outback regions 2.1 What is different about the Outback? 2.2 Why consider issues of Outback viability? 2.2.1 Under representation 2.2.2 Accommodating different perspectives 2.2.3 A process to compare knowledge and views 2.2.4 An Outback partnership 3 Methodology 3.1 Different ways of valuing Outback regions 3.2 Different ways of knowing and understanding Outback issues 3.3 Research design 3.4 Stage 1. Review of existing regionalisation frameworks 3.5 Stage 2. Developing a working understanding of socio-economic regionalisation of Outback Australia 3.6 Stage 3. Refining the regionalisation framework and enhancing understanding of its application 3.7 Stage 4: Breadth of coverage through rapid appraisal 3.8 Stage 5: Depth of coverage through case studies 3.9 Feedback on results of research 3.9.1 Closing the theoretical loop 3.9.2 Feedback to the policy stakeholders 3.9.3 Feedback to case study regions 4 Outcomes from research on categorising communities 4.1 Geographical communities 4.2 Communities of interest and activity 4.2.1 Communities of interest 4.2.2 Communities of practice 4.3 Case studies 4.3.1 Adapting to change in the Upper Burdekin 4.3.2 Mining-based communities 5 Issues and indicators 5.1 Attributes of healthy and viable Outback regions 5.1.1 Spectrum of employment opportunities 5.2 Sample workshop output tables 6 Conclusions and implications for policy 6.1 Complex issues are not solved though reactive solutions 6.2 Addressing the lack of information 6.3 Practical insights for continued discussion 7 References 8 Appendix 1 workshop details
Measham, T., Maru, Y., Murray-Prior, M., 2006, Outback Livelihoods: Defining and Linking Social and Economic Issues Affecting the Health and Liability of Ouback Australia, Volume:06, Report, viewed 13 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=4049.