Helen Kapalos will give the keynote address at La Trobe University's Mildura: Social Cohesion and Regional Development symposium, which will explore issues such as from multiculturalism, aged care and the challenges modern Mallee farmers face.
Professor Katie Holmes, Director of La Trobe's Transforming Human Societies Research Focus Area said sweeping changes were taking place across regional Victoria and communities needed to make important decisions about how to deal with them.
"All of our presenters are working to help the community deal with the sweeping changes the region faces. We think that a better understanding of how the community has dealt with change in the past will make future decisions even better."
Professor Holmes said Mildura had a long history of diverse migration and was an example of some of the benefits and challenges of multiculturalism.
"Several La Trobe researchers have been working with the Victorian Multicultural Commission in Mildura to learn as much as possible about what works and what doesn't. They want to take these lessons to other rural areas where migration is taking place."
Professor Holmes said researchers would also speak about the challenges Pacific Islanders have faced as they moved to rural communities.
"Often they come to places like Mildura to work in agriculture. But many feel economically and socially marginalised.
Our researchers want to give a voice to these people, to explain how well they fit in to rural communities, how they interact with other groups and what impact different immigration statuses have on Islanders' experiences and well-being."
Professor Holmes' own research explores how farmers deal with a highly variable climate.
"Climate change and industrial scale farming are testing the resilience of farmers and rural communities. I'll be drawing on a historical study of the Mallee to see what past experience may offer rural communities as they adapt to on‐going change."
The symposium will take place at La Trobe University's Mildura Campus on Friday 13 November. Click here for more information or to RSVP.
Media enquiries: Tom O'Callaghan, Media and Communications, T 03 5444 7415, M 0408 900 469