Assessing wellbeing in cotton communities

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Published: 
September 23, 2020

The Regional Wellbeing Survey (RWS) is an annual survey, conducted by the University of Canberra, that measures the subjective wellbeing of people living in rural and regional Australia.

It also includes measures of resilience of rural and regional residents and the liveability of their communities. It aims to provide data that can be used by CRDC and others to explore how rural and regional Australians are experiencing a wide range of changes occurring in their communities. CRDC is encouraging all those in the cotton community who live rurally and regionally to take part in the survey.

The Australian cotton industry reported on wellbeing for the first time in its Australian Cotton Industry Sustainability Report 2019, using data from the RWS. This is a starting point in more thoroughly addressing the wellbeing issue, and more work is needed to understand the context, the impact of drought, and other factors on these baseline numbers. Indicators need to help the industry understand if and how it can do more to work with government, communities, other industries and individuals to improve the welling and social capital of people and communities where cotton is grown.

“Because measuring wellbeing is new to the industry, education and collaboration is needed to make these indicators understood and relevant in the cotton industry and in cotton growing communities,” Rachel says. 

“The wellbeing of people in the Australian cotton industry is integral to its success and level of sustainability.

“The cotton industry intends to work with the National Farmers Federation and other broadacre sectors towards a consistency of wellbeing indicators, and when they are confirmed, after the consultation process, the industry will set targets that ensure it contributes to national wellbeing aspirations.

“In the meantime, we’d like growers to complete the survey to provide an insight into regional cotton communities wellbeing, resilience and quality of life.”

Participate in the survey at www.regionalwellbeing.org.au.