There is also a personal connection to a place that needs to be acknowledged. People live in communities where their families have made connections through the years, or it has meaning for them. As this is significant in the research, it was considered important to include as a unique element that has different meaning for different people. Regardless of the source, a sense of belonging is important for people to remain in a place, feel that they can contribute and have value.
For Aboriginal people, it is their connection to country that holds them to a place and community. For others, it is the culture of a ‘country way of doing things’. Despite being hard to define, it can be a powerful element in determining ‘liveability’ for an individual or family group and cannot be ignored.
The need to have an income is impacting on families being able to maintain traditional links to the land. The impact of globalisation on primary production e.g., the downturn in the dairy industry; droughts; bushfires, the aging demographic of the region; and climate change are all influences that are affecting this element. The rapid change in culture and expectations are also influencing people’s continued links to geographic locations.
Although there has been renewed support for Aboriginal identity and respecting their culture, until recently there has been minimal recognition of the importance to individuals pertaining to identity and geographic location. With Gunditjmara Country so rich in Aboriginal cultural heritage and language, this is a strength and asset to the region which enhances our collective liveability.
Opportunities for Social Cohesion by VicHealth
Mapping Social Cohesion by the Scanlon Institutue
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