Parenting in the country
Raising a family in the country provides a wealth of opportunities. Children can enjoy more outdoor play, a close-knit community, fresh air, less traffic, contact with nature, sports and many more activities.
However, when you’re living in the bush you may have less access to help and support. It helps to know where you can seek support and information.
Support networks for rural parents
If you are living remotely, you may feel lonely or isolated. Building a support network takes time but there are ways for families to build links with the community.
Joining a playgroup is a good way for parents and their kids to meet other families. To find out if there is one in your area, go to Playgroup Australia and click on the link for your state.
Your local council or library may offer activities for children. You might also meet other families at playgrounds and parks.
Options for your child’s care and education vary between areas. Government regulations for childcare and education facilities ensure all Australian children have access to quality education. Distance education is an option for children who live remotely.
Healthcare in rural Australia
To find a health service in your area, go to the National Health Services Directory.
The symptom checker on healthdirect can help determine what kind of assistance you might need. Call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 at any time to speak to a registered nurse (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria).
If your child or family member requires emergency assistance, call triple zero (000).
For further information about health care in rural Australia, see health services. See eHealth support for rural families for information about phone and teleconference health resources.
Financial support for remote families
If you need to travel to see a medical specialist, reimbursement is available. Find the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme in your state by visiting your state government health department website. Other financial support for rural families may be available.
Assessment and early intervention
For parents of children under 12 years of age with special needs such as developmental delay, behavioural disorders and high learning needs, assessment and treatment may be available through your local health service.
Find out more on early childhood intervention.
Family and domestic violence
A safe and harmonious living environment is important for child health and development. Family violence is a serious issue that is often hidden in communities. It can take courage to come forward and ask for help.
Visit 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) for more information. If you or someone else is unsafe right now, call triple zero (000) and ask for help.
Mental health problems exist throughout the country. In rural areas, people may feel more isolated with their mental health issues and be unsure of where to look for support. You can access help and support for yourself or your family by:
- using a digital mental health resource; you can find help on Head to Health
- talking to your doctor or the Royal Flying Doctor Service
- finding local mental health resources via the National Health Services Directory
- visiting the Mental Health Australia website
- ringing a helpline such as Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636
- calling triple zero (000) in an emergency
You can also get help from:
- eheadspace, a phone and online counselling available for people aged 12-25 — call 1800 650 890.
- Kids Helpline for kids and young people aged 5-25 — call 1800 55 1800.
- Pregnancy, Birth and Baby offers a free phone or video call line 7 days a week. Phone 1800 882 436.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: September 2021