Homelessness in Queensland mining communities: A down payment on Australia’s wealth or inevitable product of a neo-liberalist society's response to the cyclical fortunes of mining
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The mining boom in Australia of the first decade of the Twenty-First Century yielded prosperity for many Australians living in rural, regional and urban locations. This sense of prosperity was grounded in the widely reported experiences of people usually employed directly through the mining industry, or related industry, on high incomes, able to afford regular overseas holidays, ownership of multiple properties, material possessions and other hallmarks of an affluent lifestyle. However, less attention was given to vulnerable and homeless Australians in mining communities who did not benefit at all during the mining boom. In fact what evidence does exist indicates their disadvantage was further compounded through the high cost of housing. It is now widely accepted that the mining industry has been in a state of downturn over the last three years and this has served to highlight the social issues facing mining communities now and into the future. What is to be learnt from the decade long mining boom? Specifically this paper critiques the evidence, research literature and theories about urban-centric homelessness and assesses their relevance to homelessness in mining communities. This paper argues that the dynamics of homelessness in mining communities challenge existing homelessness theory and knowledge and argues that further evidence is needed to properly understand structural causes of homelessness in mining communities and to guide policy responses that may help prevent homelessness or otherwise assist homeless people access housing and support services. Identifying the mining boom and mining downturn cycle will be explored. Finally this paper outlines the case for further research to improve policy and planning responses to address homelessness in these communities taking into account planning requirements to address the mining boom and down turn cycle.
Journal of Social Inclusion
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