Cut from 'country': the impact of climate change on the mental health of Aboriginal pastoralists

Meryl Pearce, Lynne Eagle, David Low, Andrea Schurmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Given the climate change predictions for Australia, increasing temperatures and lower rainfall are likely to have adverse health implications for remote communities' dependant on agriculture for their livelihood. This paper examines the impact of the loss of employment in the pastoralism sector on the wellbeing of Aboriginal residents in the Shires of Cloncurry and Mount Isa City in North West Queensland. Data were collected in 2013 via postal questionnaires from 96 non-Aboriginal households, and three focus groups with male and female Aboriginal residents (n=14). The results outline the social problems and decline in mental wellbeing among Aboriginal people as a result of the downsizing in the pastoralism sector during a period of prolonged drought. Unemployed Aboriginal people who have been 'forced' to migrate from regional areas to nearby towns through no fault of their own need alternative activities to enable them to maintain a sense of wellbeing. This may in part be provided through involvement in community-driven social support activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-79
Number of pages30
JournalAustralasian Journal of Regional Studies
Volume21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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