The idea that effective science communication is a welfare concern misses one of the most pragmatic issues. In countries like Australia where a large proportion of scientific endeavour is undertaken by the government, support from the community is an electoral and funding issue. These Australian government agencies are located in extremely geographically and culturally isolated areas. The communication of science is now a policy directive. Apart from the other welfare issues, the lack of scientific understanding impedes the effectiveness of scientific programmes in that community. The policy of improving the profile of science may very well be part of the overall central strategy, but there is a lot to learn about how it is done in remote areas.
     

Remote communities are different to regional or urban groups for a variety of reasons. As a result of their extreme isolation, these communities are mostly ’science- uneducated’. Many government scientists are ’outsiders’ whose race, education or living standard is not perceived as part of the local community. Efforts that are made towards promoting a scientific interest can sometimes be considered to be an extension of authority, the bureaucracy or even the power relations that dominate their lives.
     

One of the most remote of all communities in Australia is the Cocos ( Keeling) Islands, Indian Ocean. With a population of around six hundred, predominantly of the Islamic faith, government agencies have varying degrees of perceived relevance. By taking the example of two agencies, new methods and issues are revealed. The first of these is Parks Australia which is responsible for the sustainable management and monitoring of the local marine environment and National Park. The second is that of the Bureau of Meteorology which maintains an upper air monitoring weather station and advises on daily weather and cyclones. They are two different stories of success for different reasons.
 

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Science drives a white ute
Making it relevant in remote areas

Sarah Hall   Nelson Mandela Walk

The idea that effective science communication is a welfare concern misses one of the most pragmatic issues. In countries like Australia where a large proportion of scientific endeavour is undertaken by the government, support from the community is an electoral and funding issue. These Australian government agencies are located in extremely geographically and culturally isolated areas. The communication of science is now a policy directive. Apart from the other welfare issues, the lack of scientific understanding impedes the effectiveness of scientific programmes in that community. The policy of improving the profile of science may very well be part of the overall central strategy, but there is a lot to learn about how it is done in remote areas.
     

Remote communities are different to regional or urban groups for a variety of reasons. As a result of their extreme isolation, these communities are mostly ’science- uneducated’. Many government scientists are ’outsiders’ whose race, education or living standard is not perceived as part of the local community. Efforts that are made towards promoting a scientific interest can sometimes be considered to be an extension of authority, the bureaucracy or even the power relations that dominate their lives.
     

One of the most remote of all communities in Australia is the Cocos ( Keeling) Islands, Indian Ocean. With a population of around six hundred, predominantly of the Islamic faith, government agencies have varying degrees of perceived relevance. By taking the example of two agencies, new methods and issues are revealed. The first of these is Parks Australia which is responsible for the sustainable management and monitoring of the local marine environment and National Park. The second is that of the Bureau of Meteorology which maintains an upper air monitoring weather station and advises on daily weather and cyclones. They are two different stories of success for different reasons.
 

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