SRUC to learn from Australia’s rural communities

Published Wednesday, 5th December 2012 in Research news

Artur with parrot

SRUC’s Dr Artur Steinerowski has recently returned from a research trip to southern Australia where he began a study on the effects of private companies on rural communities.

Based at the Centre for Regional Engagement at the University of South Australia, Dr Steinerowski travelled hundreds of miles to investigate seven of the region’s rural businesses.

Dr Steinerowski says: “There is already clear evidence of the core economic benefits that successful businesses can have on rural communities. However, in Australia, many rural businesses do much more to help maintain their local communities and my research will highlight the benefits such private sector support can bring.”

Support for community events, funding local football teams and helping people reuse water are just some of the examples Dr Steinerowski found of local businesses helping their communities.

Artur in Australian rainforest“There are many examples of good practice to be found in Australia that we can bring back to Scotland to help our own rural communities thrive.” Dr Steinerowski says. “This is a key issue now due to the continuing economic crisis, with services being withdrawn and public sector spending cuts. The private sector could have a big role to play in helping rural communities that have lost social cohesion become busy, vibrant places once more.”

Dr Steinerowski’s visit down under is only the beginning of what will no doubt be a productive research partnership between SRUC and the University of South Australia. Not only will SRUC host one of the researchers from the Centre for Regional Engagement next year, the two groups are also planning a joint research project which will compare rural resilience in Scotland and Australia.

The initial findings of Dr Steinerowski’s research in Australia will be published in early 2013. 

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