Introduction to remote Australia

Life in remote Australia is different to life in urban areas. There are different priorities and there may be different ways of life. You may find some things a bit challenging to begin with such as lack of mobile coverage, basic accommodation and being much closer to all sorts of wildlife. The weather can change rapidly and affect things like the road you are driving on. If you don’t have what you need you cant easily get it and you need to plan ahead for a variety of circumstances. One of the most important attributes you can bring with you is flexibility and the ability to be adaptable when things change from the way they were planned or the way you thought they would be.

Most people gain a great deal from the experience and really value the experiences they have even when it is quite different to expectations.

People in remote Australia have an enduring connection to the environment. They live by it. In good times and bad. When the sun is up, so are they. When it rains, it brings a good season. When it floods, the damage can be devastating. Droughts come and linger. Cyclones batter towns. Bushfires ravage small communities. It’s not only extreme weather events, but also the variables. A farm might receive just a few inches of rain one year and a deluge the next. But despite the extraordinary challenges that nature brings, people in the outback pull through. Better than anyone else, they know how to work with the environment, and not against it. 

Poor seasons have a big impact on local economies; employment drops, incomes decrease and more people face financial stress. A report on the impacts of drought in Queensland found 22% of small businesses were associated with agriculture and 20% were service-focused, making 42% of businesses likely to feel the pinch as spending slows and the drought hangs on. The research found small business owners had been forced to reduce staff or restrict opening times in order to remain viable.

Recovery from any natural disaster, whether its prolonged drought, flooding or fires, can take years and the effects go beyond the financial cost. Increased stress impacts on health, both physical and mental. Couples can be separated as one partner moves to take up employment elsewhere. The extra workload to feed stock or repair fences keeps people close to home, restricting their social interaction and cohesion of local communities. Financial upheaval means families struggle to afford basics such as healthcare and schooling expenses. Isolation is intensified.

 

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