The world is witnessing rapid development in almost every sector and with the rise of advanced technology and tools the pace of development has accelerated even more. Likewise, every other sector, society across the globe has undergone a significant change that affected the lives of people who are an integral part of this society. The community development in any country is essential to shape up the economy as a whole (Loh & Shear, 2015). Australia is also not an exception when it comes to community development, the country is constantly improving the condition of the societies and communities within the country. Thus, the aim of this essay is to critically analyse the potential of Australia for community development by highlighting the different issues and challenges involved with this and their solution.
The word community is a very strong word in itself, a community basically refers to the group of individuals that resides close to each other and possess uncanny characteristics. The main reason behind the formation of communities is that the people want someone other than their family to support them in times of need (Lashem, Haj & Guterman, 2016). However, it has been identified that entering into a community can become a difficult task as in the 21st century, discrimination is one of the factors which plays a crucial role to identify whether an individual can be a part of a community or not. It has been observed in the case of Australia, the communities are said to be highly diverse.
It makes it very difficult for the people to generalize between two communities, it has been discovered that the people tend to get confused when they try to identify the different type of community according to the population of the country (Block, 2018). The population of Australia is quite low because of which the people fall into a dilemma that the country only caters to a single community. However, it is just the contrary because the country entertains multiple communities that include the aboriginal people, Torres Strait Islander including different small counties that are spread throughout the country, the bush people and also the people living in the urbanized suburbs (Durrey, Bessarab & Smith, 2016). However, even with such diverse communities, the people of the country stand united, and like all other communities throughout the world, the Australian communities also have to face hardship in order to survive.
Community development is an integral part of all the communities throughout the world. Community development refers to the process where each and every individual residing in a community is backed by the government and non-government agencies, which will help the community to grow. Community development helps different individuals of the society to feel a sense of belonging, which helps to enhance the intertwined relationships between the different members of the community (Ledwith, 2015). Many researchers have identified the community development as a holistic approach which is structured on the principles such as human rights, empowerment, social justice, self-determination and collective action. It has been discovered, to achieve long term outcomes such a cohesive as well as stronger community, it should be done in a community level because this is where the community can identify the initiative which can help its empowerment (Lee, Kim & Phillips, 2015).
If the community development is strong, the people in the society can also enhance the health care services by helping people of all class, age and sex. The Australian government has identified multiple policies which can help a community to develop one such policy to help the individuals that are seeking employment in the remote areas of Australia. The government of the country help these individuals to hone their skills and provide them with opportunities through which they can take care of their families and friends (AIFS, 2020). The Australian government agenda majorly focuses on increasing the employment rate and decreasing the dependency rate and empowering organisational skills. In addition, it has been identified that the unemployment youth of Australia had to be paid a set amount to help these individuals to survive.
Community development is not an easy task as there are multiple issues that hamper the process of community development. The biggest factor which hinders this particular process is social issues. It has been observed that social issues are the main issues that the communities have been facing for many years now. A social issue can be described as a problem that encapsulates all the citizens of a given community. The worst part about this social issue is that they cannot be controlled voluntarily. There are chances that the social issues might be co-related with the economic controls, however, both the issues are completely different and should not be considered as one. In the case of Australia, there are multiple issues that stop the people of the community to grow. It has been discovered that the right of the women is still taken for granted in the country (DESE, 2020). Also, the Aboriginals and Torres Straight people who are said to be the first inhabitants of the country are struggling to survive in the country as they are not provided with proper education, medical facility and at ties food. Another major issue the country is facing is homelessness, it has been identified that 1 in 200 individuals does not have a roof overhead. If an individual does not even have a roof over his head, then there is no scope for that individual to lead a life as the people from other communities do (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2016). Such an individual can only be involved with the homelessness and might not be able to fulfil their dreams which they see.
The interconnections between community development and culture are evident in terms of a woman advocacy group (WAG). Ledwith (2020) reported that participation in social practices and exposure to a new world view in order to enable community members to adopt much more empowered subject positions. Idemudia & Osayande (2018) also mentioned that exposure to different cultural systems can illustrate new ways of being and avenues of expression have a positive effect on WAG members with respect to leadership roles. Smith (2018) also shared the same view and stated that access to power within communities is an important factor in determining whether community members can adopt ways of being and world views that are more conducive to their self-determination. In addition to this, Kikett et al. (2016) mentioned community development can also help to address the issues related to differences between aboriginal Australian communities and other communities.
It can be used to help local people enhance their own lives through indirect assistance. Community development programs are also reported that considering the culturally neutral ground of community centre, they can act as a good means for engaging individuals form linguistically and culturally diverse background which can facilitate the inclusion of minority cultures in the community. Smith, Giacon & McLean (2018) agreed with the previous statement and reported that south Australians are more accepting of other cultures, 82% as compared to 78% Australians, and community centres play a major role in it through their programs tailored for encouraging cultural acceptance. Despite all these, there are so many challenges in embracing others culture or adjusting with them because the country has many foreigners who hail from the different cultural background and has distinct belief and values.
According to Hunt (2018), community development has a significant effect on the economic contribution of community members. Among other things, this includes giving people opportunities to engage in skill development, training and volunteer work. Moreover, foundation courses facilitate the process of breaking down barriers through numeracy and literacy and supports provisions for participation and engagement of children. For instance, the provision of low-cost meal service which involves volunteer work, small up-front cost etc. can help to support school attendance of many young children (Hunt & Campbell, 2018). This is especially pertinent in the case of aboriginals since their disadvantaged background does not allow them to partake in development practices without such incentives.
This increased numeracy and literacy which is delivered at low cost through community programs can assist with inclusiveness and has personal, individual and workforce benefits. Furthermore, such improvements tend to create value by adding to future nominal wages and workforce productivity. Hammersley, Lloyd & Bilous (2018) in their study of the economic and social impact of community centres mentioned that although benefits of such community development programs are not always directly quantifiable, they contribute towards economic development through volunteer contribution, labour savings, pathways to education and provision of crèche services. In addition to this, as Mendes (2018) mentioned, there is a strong agreement among economists that human capital is one of the major factors which influences the social stability and economic growth of a society.
In Australia, community and neighbourhood based planning have a long tradition for redevelopment and revitalization. Furthermore, deteriorating quality of the environment and the subsequent consequences on the health of community members has emerged as a high priority for Australia. Aging industrial cities in Australia suffer from a myriad of issues caused by pollution which also includes emission of hazardous chemicals. As Dobson et al. (2010) mentioned, urban residents in Australia have higher than the national average in death form diseases. While community development programs tended not to concentrate on environmental issues directly, but numerous issues which community programs do address are key components of environmental quality, such as children's health, unhealthy housing condition and vacant lots.
Regardless of their lack of experience, community members are playing a crucial role in addressing environmental issues by mobilizing citizens and assessing resources. In addition to this, Abott (1995) reported that there is an important and distinct role for community work to ensure informed and active participation in environmental goals along with the engagement of people in the process. Community development programs can be used to facilitate up gradation of energy efficiency in buildings, transportation and products, along with implementation and adoption of sustainable fisheries, watershed and forestry practices. Such development practices can also contribute to environmental goals by remanufacturing and recycling hazardous and solid waste into marketable products. The frequent fire in
Participation in the process of involving and engaging individuals in a particular activity. This participation creates an opportunity for the participant to demonstrate their potential ability in a particular domain. The participation is very important in one's life to realize the potential lies within the person. Hence, participation is an integrated part of social life and in various project development, the participation of the concerned individual is significant. Similarly, in community development, the participation of various members of the community is utmost important. People come together in community development to solve the problem the entire community facing or important to them by taking collective decision to take appropriate actions (Snijder et. al, 2015). Participation has many advantages to the participants and as it brings physical and mental well-being along with the satisfaction.
However, the participants may take part formally or informally and in Australian society, participants participate in community events based on the cultural background, socio-economic status, age or gender. Considering the challenges in participation for the community development in Australia is the difference among the citizens throughout the country (Israel et al., 2017). Australia is a vast country with having populace from the different origin of the country who migrated here for the purposes like education or employment. The high influx of foreigners has created mixed culture turning it into multi-cultural and cosmopolitan society especially in metro cities. These people have different problems and priority that causes conflict among the different sect of society. Moreover, there have been many incidents of racism against Aboriginals and races, violence against the foreign students and expatriates, gender inequality and cumulatively. It has created communal disharmony in society and is a threat to community development (Grigg & Manderson, 2016).
Power is an ability to manage or control events and people and sometimes it is referred to the political influence or possessing authority to control a group of people. However, power in the community is the rights and authority to carry out their communal activity in a society. The different community has a different level of power in the society that co-exists among each other. The community and the society are classified and categorised under several categories based on income, culture, ethnicity, gender, club and many others. To create an influence of the community, power plays a vital role in it (Dobratz, 2015). Different community endeavours to attain and retain higher power for the best interest of their community. However, it is very challenging for a community to stay in power for a long especially when the community lies under the minority or alienated class (Hunter, 2017). Whereas the empowerment is the process or act of giving more power to the existing power holder to facilitates their confidence, challenges, concerns and control. Empowerment is done to encourage the low power holder for their growth and development and it is supported by those who possess the higher authority to distribute the power or which lead them to enhance power grasping ability (Rubin & Babbie, 2016).
The weaker section in the society seeks the empowerment to reach the level of the well-established section. In Australia, there have been many empowerment programmes that aim to develop the entire populace of the country some of the notable initiatives of empowerment are women empowerment, trans-community empowerment, disabled or handicapped community empowerment. The major challenges in giving power and empowering are that political power at the state and federal level has different views to see a community. Also the distribution of the resources from the federal to state level has a limited scope as targets on broader issues, however, the issue may be more complex in narrow its context (Freeman et al. 2016). The relation and cooperation between federal and state are very important to understand community needs and problem including the local government and their better cooperation can resolve them easily (Park & Kim, 2016).
Although a community is the collection of the like-minded people who share a common belief, myths, religion or values in some or other ways, it is also seen that at each level the diversity exist within the community too. Such diversity sometimes creates a difference among the people who are part of the same community and makes its synergy and unity weaker. Eventually, this hampers the community development, because to develop a community it is required to make its member strive for a common goal instead of the individual one. Social issues are the indicators of the health of society and it should be considered to understand the situation of the society. Many of the social issues that lie go unnoticed or highlighted and get more immense with the passage of time neglecting it. In Australia, there are many social issues that are hidden and not highlighted for some interest or gain.
It has been seen that cultural issues arise when people from various cultural background try to impose their culture on others or portrays theirs' superior to others'. This lead to clashes among different such groups and the communal harmony get discord. Economic factors reflect the position of the community in the financial and economic context consisting the factors like income, wealth, houses and properties and affordability. Similarly, environmental issues have an impact on the health and survival of the community because they create a proper habitat for human beings for survival. Thus, the distribution of power is done to empower the weaker community but such things are not fully practical because afters numerous campaign and initiatives the challenges and problems of the society are still prevalent.
To conclude, it can be said that the challenges in the community developments are endless and are in several forms. There is diversity within the community that makes it weaker and the social issues add up more challenges. The existing racism and other forms of discrimination are sabotaging the communal harmony of the entire population as a whole. Australia lacks the factors to unite the entire citizen by sharing one common interest because the difference among them and hatred toward each other does not allow them to stand together as a citizen of the same country and feel the sense of belongingness. Despite all these, community development seems feasible but there are a lot more points to be worked upon. The difference and negative feeling for others should be eliminated to make every citizen feel the true sense of brotherhood and humanism. If the government will give enough power to the weaker section and the other class also embrace and encourage the growth and development of other section. Thus, it is possible to make community development a reality by defeating and eliminating all the odds.
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