Keywords: local sustainability initiatives, community needs, community support, analytical model, Australia
Working towards sustainability in small towns: perspectives from northern Australia
Local Agenda 21 emphasises the role of local governments in initiating sustainability strategies. However, there is considerable debate about what constitutes a sustainable community and about how to progress towards it. Local sustainability initiatives also require wide support from the community but for what sorts of sustainability initiatives can we expect to find support? The towns of northern Australia provided a useful geography to examine these questions. The emerging global economic playing field has offered economic opportunities as never before to some towns in the region whilst others have experienced rapid decline. In short, different sustainability issues have emerged depending upon regional circumstances. An analytical model capable of assessing community support for local sustainability initiatives is presented. The model was used to compare and contrast a sample of towns from northern Australia and it was found that there was good support for many strategic initiatives that would encourage ustainability.