ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Rural and Regional Communities

This theme provides a platform for a wide range of research projects where the main focus is enhancing the well-being and livelihoods of rural and regional communities. Many past and current projects include a strong social component.  Past, current and emerging topics include safe domestic water, shark sentiment studies, entrepreneurship, rural social services, human non-human coexistence, food security, NRM governance, social justice, rural development, human health, mental health, eco health, and biocultural and Indigenous research.

  • Current Projects
  • Completed Projects
  • Higher Degree Research
  • Research Activities

Current Projects

Activating financial markets to reward soil stewardship.  Pawsey, N., Oczkowski, E., Lynch, J., Frost, M., Coghlan, I., Allan, C., Nayeem, T. (2020-2023) CRC for High Performance Soils, $355,000 Project details

CRC for High Performance Soils - Consumer demand, the value chain, and communication strategies for promoting soil stewardship. Morrison, M., Saliba, A., Oczkowski, E., Godfrey, S., Nayeem, T., Small, F., and Hatton MacDonald, D., Grimmer, L., & Tinch, D. (UTAS) (2018-2021) CRC for High Performance Soils, $372,584 (CSU) and $86,200 (UTAS). Project details

Co-operative inquiry: Documenting student’s and supervisor’s experiences of COVID-19 (Phase 2 Funding). Short, M. (2021) University of Sydney, $20,000

Determining the potential of certification, verification and related concepts for rewarding soil stewardship.  Morrison, M., Small, F., Nayeem, T., Pawsey, N., Frost, M. (2021-2024) Soil CRC, $403,957 Project details

Equally Well, Roberts, R. (2019-2021) National Mental Health Commission, $114,854 plus Contract Variation (2020), $115,019. Total value $229,709 Project details

Evaluation of the Integrated Chronic Care Programs in North West Melbourne funded by NWMPHN. Roberts, R (2020-2021), Neami National, project led by RMIT. Total value $95,000, ILWS sub-contract $26,000

HealthTalk - Equally Well. Roberts, R., (2020-2022) National Mental Health Commission, $120,000 Project details

Indigo Shire Liveability Atlas Pilot Project: Walkability. Horta, A. & Whitsed, R. (2019-2021) North East CMA, $5000 & $5000 (CSU) Project details

Indigo Shire Liveability Atlas Pilot Project: Social Dimensions. Black, R. (2019-2021) Indigo Shire Council, $10,000 Project details

Leading for Better Mental Health Program Evaluation. Jenkins, S., Esler, J., Neher, A., Bhanugopan, R., Bamberry, L., Dwivedi, A., Frost, M., Ceric, A. (2021) Emergency Services Foundation, $44,602

Society and science: a new approach to wildlife disease surveillance. Peters, A., Masterman-Smith, H., Rafferty, J. (2020-2023) NSW Environment Trust, $200,000 Project details

Society and science: A new Approach to Wildlife Disease Surveillance.  Peters, A., Masterman-Smith, H., Rafferty, J.(2021- 2024) DAWE -Environmental Biosecurity project Fund $231,772 (PhD scholarship)

Supporting isolated women in New South Wales via an eHealth CBT program. De Haan, K. (Murrumbidgee LHD), Bernoth, M., Hunt, C. (Western NSW LHD), Milgrom, J (Parent Infant Research Institute), Gemmil, A. (Parent Infant Research Institute ), Carlisle, J. & Carey, A.(2018-2022) NSW Ministry of Health Translational Research Grant Scheme $176,790 Project details

The future of farming and biodiversity in agricultural landscapes: the Muttama Creek catchment area. Mitchell, M. (2021) Leuphana University of Lu╠łneburg, $6,488

Completed Projects

A Community Engagement Series: Regional Facilitator in the Albury LGA, Masterman-Smith, H., Rafferty, J., and Sheahan, M., (2016) NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, $32,000  Project details

A study of influences on preferences, tolerances and thresholds of acceptability for shark management options in NSW. Simmons, P. & Mehmet, M. (2018-2019) NSW Primary Industries – NSW Shark Management Strategy, $50,000 Project details

Activating markets to create incentives for improved soil management: Literature scoping study. Morrison, M. (2017-2018) High Performance Soils CRC, $49,254 Project details Project Fact Sheet

Albury Wodonga Regional FoodShare Project. Masterman-Smith, H. (2019) $7000

Assessing and developing a walkability index targeted to older Australians in regional cities. Whitsed, R., Horta, A. (2018-2019) Family & Community Services – Liveable Communities Grants, $30,000 Project details

Assessment of the attitudes of beach and ocean end-users to shark mitigation since trials of SMART Drumlines in NSW. Simmons, P., Mehmet, M.  (2018) NSW DPI, $55,012 Project details

Better Parks for People, Whitsed, R., Black, R., & Harvey, R. (2016-2017) FACS NSW Liveable Communities, $62,727 Project details

Community attitudes towards SMART drumlines as a shark mitigation tool. Simmons, P. & Mehmet, M. (2019) NSW Department of Primary Industries, $58,691

Community driven economic change in small rural community local economic zones. Morrison, M. (2017-2018) Federation Council, $50,000 Project details Economic Development Study Final Report 2mb   Murray Region Operational Plan 300kb

Compact cities or sprawling suburbs? Optimal design of growing cities to conserve biodiversity, Nimmo, D., Retra, K., Bambrick, D. (2017-2020) Australian Academy of Science-WH Gladstones Population & Environment Fund, $24,000 Project details

Conservation management plan for Turks Head building, Albury. Spennemann, D. (2017-18) Albury City Council, $14,847

CRC for High Performance Soils: I.2.003 Collaborative approaches to Innovation. Pawsey, N., Allan, C., Frost, M., Lynch, J., Wong, A. (2019-2020), Soil CRC  Project details

Data sharing: Illuminating the drivers of rural business failure. Horta, A. (2018-2020) Collaborative project with Latrobe University.

Evaluation of New Access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Burmeister, O., Russell, R. & Steve Stanton (a Gamilaraay man from North West NSW) (2018-2019) Primary Health Network – Central and Eastern Sydney, $66,000 Project Details

Environmental Monitoring and Training for Aboriginal Communities. Wassens, S., Allan, C., Whitsed, R. & Bond, J. (2017-2018) NSW OEH, $20,000 Project details

Equally well implementation committee. Roberts, R., Hyde, S., Banks, S., Cobb, L., Burmeister, O., Nayeem, T., Mehmet, M. & Maylea, C. (2017-2019) National Mental Health Commission, $154,160 plus Contract variations (2018) $85,000 and (2019) $97,582. Total value $252,582.  Project Details

Evaluation of the effectiveness of the Lake Cowal Foundation. Allan, C. (2017) Lake Cowal Foundation Ltd. $25,000

Group Capacity snapshot project. Allan, C. (2017-2018) Murray LLS, $10,000

Headspace NewAccess Program Evaluation. Burmeister, O. M, Fox, R., Nic Giolla Easpaig, B., Roberts, R. (2017-2018) Murrumbidgee Primary Health District, $75,000 Project details

Hedonic Pricing of On-farm Soil Management – Phase 1. Morrison, M., Oczkowski, E. (2018) CRC High Performance Soils, $60,000 Project details

Humanitarian immigrant entrepreneurs in private and social enterprises. Collins, J. (UTS) Krivokapic-Skoko, B. (2015-2018) ARC Discovery grant, $200,124 Project details

Hume Region Workforce Development Plan Refresh. Hicks, J., Morrison, M., and Forbes, P. (2019 2020) The State of
Victoria, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, $49,500 plus $49,500 (CSU)

Landcare Report Card 2. Mitchell, M. & Allan, C.  (2019) Landcare NSW, $20,000 Project details

Long term prediction of PFAS profile in the soil and its possible pathway into groundwater (a case study).  Mahinroosta, R., Li, M & Senevirathna, L. (2020) Bathurst Regional Council, $16,500

Our Place-Corowa. Masterman-Smith, H., Sheahan, M. & Rafferty, J. (2015-2017) NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, $29,500 Project details

PIRCCO Evaluation, Burmeister, O. & Roberts, R. (2017-2018) Marathon Health, $50,000 (Program Evaluation Contract research) Project details

Powering Down: an energy efficiency education project. Masterman-Smith, H., Rafferty, J. & Sheahan, M. and Albury City Council. (2017) NSW Environment Trust, $100,000 Project details

Reconnaissance and recommendations on mistletoe management in macadamia orchards. Watson, D. & Watson, J. (2018-2019) Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd, $18,000

Review of the Murray Landcare Collective and Murray Regional Landcare Facilitator project 2014-2018. Allan, C., and Earl, G. (Murray LLS) (2018) Holbrook Land Care Network, $5000

Riverina Skills Audit, Burmeister, O. (2020) collaborator Regional Development Australia- Riverina NSW. CSU, $25,000 AGRIPARK – Collaborative Research Agreement.

Secure Safe Domestic Water (SSDW) in the Central Darling Region: Regional stakeholder engagement action events. Finlayson, M. (2017) MDBA, $4546

Securing adequate safe domestic water for regional Australia.  Waterman, P., Finlayson, M., Kitzelmann, M. (2016-2017) (Etheridge Shire Council), Charters, K. (SEGRA) CSU, $50,000 Project details

Shark management stakeholder submissions evaluation report. Lewis, C.  (2021) NSW DPI. Project led by University of Wollongong. Total amount $102,000. ILWS sub-contract, $9772

Shark deterrents and detection: Community perceptions, sentiment and preferences for shark management strategies.  Simmons, P., Mehmet, M.  & Clarke, R. (UOW) (2017) A collaborative project between CSU (ILWS), UOW and NSW DPI with funding from the NSW Shark Management Strategy (SMS) Competitive Annual Grants Program. Project details

Shark Sentiment Study. Simmons, P., Mehmet, M. (2017-2020), NSW Department of Primary Industries, $91,000

Spark a connection art and dementia program evaluation. Burmeister, O. (2019) NSW Family & Community Services Liveable Communities Grant Program administered by Orange City Council, $8000 Project details

Succession and estate planning in Australia,  Steen, A. & D'Alessandro, S. (2016-2017) Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, $25,700

Supporting Aged Care in the Community. Bernoth, M., Green, E., & Esler, J. (2021) Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN), $30,000 Project details

Surfer attitudes to shark management. Simmons, P., Lewis, C.  (2020) NSW DPI, $66,481

Virtuous Practitioners: Empowering Social Workers. Pawar, M., Hugman, R. (UNSW), Alexandra, A. & Anscombe, A.  (2014-2019) ARC Discovery grant, $220,130 Project details

Workforce Wellbeing in Family and Community Services. Roberts, R., Bamberry, L., Ceric, A., Hodgins, G., Cumming, T. (2018-2019) FACS, $204,394 Project Details

Full list of Completed Projects

Current HDR Students

Jose Abalo (DSW): Transitions issues experienced by early school leavers: Implications for social work policy and practice. Principal supervisor Professor Manohar Pawar

Kakoli Bhowmik:  Modelling the early development of Australian children using the AEDC data from 2009 - 2021. Principal supervisor Associate Professor Azizur Rahman

Kane Callaghan: Social media citizensourcing for policy-making: The case of sharks in NSW. Principal supervisor Associate Professor Peter Simmons (Thesis submitted 2021)

Ryan Cole:  Exploring the application of a Quality Management Framework to Urban Planning practice in a NSW Local Government organisational environment. Principal supervisor Associate Professor Larissa Bamberry

Gael Evans-Barr: The post volunteering impact among retirees; Organisational and individual predictors. Principal supervisor Associate Professor Maree Bernoth

Thiloka Kariyawasam: Bioremediation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contaminated soils. Principal supervisor Dr Greg Doran, ILWS Supervisor Vale Dr Julia Howitt

Juana Katzer: Social Workers Decision Making with Children with Problem Sexualised Behaviours. Principal supervisor Professor Manohar Pawar

Sean Mack (Masters): The role of leadership in building, facilitating and sustaining a person-centred approach to working with residents, in the residential aged care environment. Principal supervisor Associate Professor Maree Bernoth

Scott McManus: Assessment of uncertainty in the creation of spatial domains from portable X-ray fluorescence multi-element data using a Bayesian method. Principal supervisor Dr Ana Horta

George Rafael (DSW): A social work approach to enabling young people at their work. Principal supervisor Professor Manohar Pawar

Carla Simos (DSW): Stepmothers' life stories and self-identity. Principal supervisor Professor Manohar Pawar

Melissa Wales: Social norms and soil conservation practices. Principal supervisor Associate Professor Catherine Allan

Qudus Wazirzada: Sustainable Mobility for Road Users Using Intelligent Transport Systems: The Australian Paradigm. Principal supervisor Professor John Hicks

Linda Wirf: Beyond adoption: gendered knowledge in agriculture innovation in Australia. Principal supervisor Associate Professor Catherine Allan



Georgia Tziros: An exploration of Greek migrant experiences and later life emotional well being: A qualitative study. Principal supervisor Associate Professor Maree Bernoth


Dr Daniel Lander: Historical arguments and the narrative mode in vaccination objection communication: A critical discourse analysis of Facebook comments. Principal supervisor Dr Angela Ragusa

Dr Lucia WuerschTransactional Analysis in Organisations: A Case Study with a Focus on Internal Communication.
ILWS Co- supervisor Associate Professor Peter Simmons

Dr Bharat Poudel: Criteria for sustainable operation of renewable energy-based mini-grid services Principal supervisor Professor Kevin Parton

Dr Sumedha Weerasekara: The impact of entrepreneurial ecosystem factors on financial performance of small and medium-sized enterprises in Australia. Principal supervisor Associate Professor Branka Krivokapic-Skoko, Co supervisor Professor Mark Morrison


Dr Jillda Wright (DSW): An exploratory study of the management of Dissociative Identity Disorder in Australia. Principal supervisor Professor Manohar Pawar

Research Activities

As well undertaking externally funded research projects, a considerable number of ILWS members (including Adjuncts) whose research interests are aligned with this theme are engaged in research activities/projects that have either received internal funding from ILWS and/or CSU; are not managed by ILWS; or are non-funded.
The topics of these various research activities reflect the broadness of this theme.

Examples include:

  • involvement in a Commonwealth funded project, led by the University of Newcastle called SISTAQUIT, (Supporting Indigenous Smokers to Assist Quitting). The project, which is based on the mid-north coast of NSW, aims to improve health providers’ skills when offering smoking cessation care to pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
  • a project, to which CSU has contributed funding, by the Albury and District Historical Society to have editions of the Border Mail, from 1873 to 1946, digitalised and added to the Trove History website.  So far 51,000 pages had been included on the site.
  • a joint project with colleagues from the University of South Australia (UniSA) - The social, cultural; and economic impacts that humanitarian migrant communities can have on receiving communities – A case study of Hazara Afghans in Leeton Shire, NSW
  • a research project, Choice under the NDIS: Service provider and Carer Perspectives, which was part of a larger longitudinal study Exploring the Implementation of the NDIS in the Western NSW Region (2016-2019) that had received funding from the Association for Consumer Research
  • a project underway investigating why and how people and institutions collaborate to address opportunities and issues in NRM in regional Australia, and to identify how these collaborative relations can be nurtured and supported. Current work includes case studies with ILWS, North East Catchment Management Authority (VIC) and the National Agricultural Productivity and Reconciliation Ecology Centre (NSW)
  • an innovative program, the Leadership in Healthy Ageing program, which has been designed to teach leaders of health and aged care services in North East Victoria about the latest research findings in that space
  • a pilot study in response to concerns about wood-smoke pollution during the winter months in Orange
  • a scoping study Oh deer: exploring the narratives of human-deer conflict in North Eastern Victoria for a broader human-deer conflict project.
  • involvement in a project led by Central Queensland University, Age of Opportunity - engaging adolescents to improve mental health care in Indigenous primary healthcare services: A multi-site mixed methods study. (2020-2022) ARC Discovery Indigenous grant.
  • involvement in a University of Canberra -led project 2018 Medical Research Futures Fund Clinical Trials - Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and “Unmet Need” (2019-2022), a clinical trial which is assessing the efficacy and safety of a gel formulation of tea tree oil (TTO), a traditional Aboriginal bush medicine, in the treatment of scabies in remote-dwelling Aboriginal children.
  • a  research collaboration to develop a local solution for the PFAS (poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances) issue with a pilot project Identify best possible solvent and its efficiency to wash PFAS from contaminated soil (2018-2019) which led to an externally funded (Bathurst Regional Council) Long term prediction of PFAS profile in the soil and its possible pathway into groundwater (a case study)(2020)
  • a research project on Adoption of energy efficiency options by co-operatives and non-for profits in regional Australia 
  • a Canadian/Australian research team has been awarded a CAD$81,170 Insight Grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for a three year (2020-2023) for a project Sport, aging, and disability: International perspectives on the meaning of sport in the lives of older adults living with a disability.
  • a Ruth Stephan Fellowship at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in New Haven, Connecticut, undertake research for Erratic Ecologies: A Field Guide, an artwork attending to material, relational and political conditions of ‘erraticness’
  • the Securing Safe Domestic Water (SSDW) for Regional Australia project. This collaborative research project, which commenced in 2016, was initially focussed on the Gulf Region of Far North Queensland but has since expanded to include the Central and Lower Darling region of NSW Project details
  • the on-going Reviving Regional Railways project for which A/Prof Gray a new documentary "Living Rail – In Junee and the Riverina" was launched at the Junee Roundhouse Museum's 70th birthday celebrations in 2017.  Project details
  • research on community resilience in disaster management
  • on-going Regional and gender labour market research
  • an investigation of including older people in the teaching of ageing with industry partners Nambucca Valley Care, Navorina Nursing Home in Deniliquin, Holy Spirit Nursing home in Dubbo and Riverina Institute of TAFE.
  • a project in the mid North coast of NSW looking at improving water supply to various coastal communities.
  • the building of a digital library of CSU and its pre-curser institutions' student media publications
  • a collaboration with the Museum of the Riverina for a history project about LBGT memory in Wagga Wagga and surrounding regions
    development of curriculum material and a 3D walkthrough of the Bonegilla Migrant Experience
  • the Women in Regional Trades: Understanding Resilience project which has held industry consultations in Wagga Wagga; Bathurst and Albury.  Final Report : 'A trade of one's own' Regional NSW Stakeholder Findings 2019 
  • a project on Free Trade Agreements and their implications for Australian agricultural products trade and regional farm economies.
    involvement in a three year project (2018-2020) administered by the Graham Centre and funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia looking at the economic impact of IPM (Integrated Pest Management) on Australian horticultural (fruits and vegetables) crops
  • a research project on an ethnography of standing stone Aboriginal heritage sites throughout the Pilbara and into the eastern desert areas of WA. The project is being funded through BHP's Heritage Research Division, Perth
  • an exploration of gender and indigenous issues including the gender spaces of social work.
  • a research project funded by CenWest and WabiSabie, a company which gives people the opportunity to customise their message before they pass away.
  • two social media research projects, one in relation to Australian audiences and service industries - customer engagement for water businesses; and another on branding research for non-profit organisations
  • a project that aims to evaluate the customer engagement (CE) strategies of the 2018 Victorian water price review process.
  • the development of a new on-line platform Wayfinder, described as A Resilience Guide for Navigating Towards Sustainable Futures.  The platform, which was two years in the making, was created in partnership with the  Stockholm Resilience Centre, and the Resilience Alliance.
  • participation in an exhibition "The Habitat of Time", Casula Powerhouse, Sydney, April 19 to May 5, 2018 as part of part of an international research initiative between UNSW Art & Design in collaboration and the  Foundation for Art and Creative Technology in the UK
  • a photographic exhibition as part of the Kiska Exhibit, Alaska Aviation Museum, April 12, 2018  to January 27, 2019
  • a project to extend Albury newspapers coverage on Trove, with the digitalising of papers back to 1881 and forward to 1942.
  • development of spatial models of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Albury-Wodonga.