This unit provides an overview of regional, rural and remote human service and social work environments in Australia. It focuses on issues of regional and remote poverty, workforce related issues, remote service delivery and cross cultural practice in remote settings. The unit is designed to foster and/or enhance knowledge of the unique challenges to service delivery from a sociological, economic, political and geographical standpoint. It will specifically address the models of service delivery by challenging how concepts of `rural/regional' and `remoteness' are embedded within them. This is considered within the context of both field practitioners residing in remote communities and with responsibility for the development of services to remote areas. The impacts and costs of the current models of service delivery and its impact on direct social work practice will be explored. Developments of service design utilizing virtual technology will be considered in relation to geographically dispersed populations for both mainstream and specialist services. Furthermore, issues such as, recruitment, retention of social work practitioners, and the ethics of practice in cross-cultural context will be explored.
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