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Globalisation, rural restructuring and health service delivery in Australia: policy failure and the role of social work?

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The impacts of globalisation and rural restructuring on health service delivery in rural Australia have been significant. In the present paper, it is argued that declining health service access represents a failure of policy. Rural communities across the world are in a state of flux, and Australia is no different: rural communities are ageing at faster rates than urban communities and young people are out-migrating in large numbers. During the past 5 years, rural Australia has also experienced a severe and widespread drought that has exacerbated rural poverty, and impacted on the health and well-being of rural Australians. Australian governments have responded to globalising forces by introducing neoliberal policy initiatives favouring market solutions and championing the need for self-reliance among citizens. The result for rural Australia has been a withdrawal of services at a time of increased need. This paper addresses the social work response to these changes.

Keywords: globalisation; health inequalities; policy; rural; service delivery; social work

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-05-01

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