Charles Sturt academics contribute to solutions for social issues in regional Australia

24 OCTOBER 2019

Charles Sturt academics contribute to solutions for social issues in regional Australia

Charles Sturt academics contribute to discussion on social issues that emerged from SBS's Struggle Street.

  • Charles Sturt social work lecturers in Wagga Wagga contribute to videos and articles for SBS
  • Dr Ndungi Mungai participated in videos for ‘The Truth About’ series
  • Mrs Sabine Wardle contributed to article on how to assist those featured in the ‘Struggle Street’ series

Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) academics have delved further into the issues that have been brought to light in the recently aired SBS series Struggle Street.

In response to the third season of the television program, which focused on Wagga Wagga and the Riverina, Charles Sturt academics have participated in a video series delving further into the issues in regional Australia Struggle Street uncovered.

Struggle Street exposed issues such as poverty, addiction, unemployment, ice addiction, welfare, masculinity, mental health, childhood trauma and life on the land.

To explore these issues further, SBS Voices created The Truth About documentary series, and invited the Charles Strut academics on the show to share their insights.

Senior lecturer in Social Work and Human Services in the Charles Sturt School of Humanities and Social Sciences Dr Ndungi Mungai (pictured, above) participated in videos about masculinity, childhood trauma and about the land.

Videos were filmed at Charles Sturt’s television studios in Wagga Wagga and featured interviews with people who had experienced hardship in these areas and the University’s experts.

“I wanted to participate in the discussion because we understand that a lot of people aren’t aware of the problems people on Struggle Street are facing so it was a good opportunity to highlight those issues,” Dr Mungai said.

“In a country like Australia that looks developed, it’s easy for us to assume that we should all be very comfortable, but a variety of groups of people are left behind.”

Dr Mungai said smaller community groups in regional Australia, such as migrants or the ageing population, can often be overlooked and have the hardest time accessing services they require.

Dr Mungai said these video series can not only assist in building greater awareness within the community, but can also assist social workers to start devising solutions.

“We should take what the show has highlighted as a challenge for social workers to put our thinking hats on and see if we are doing enough to help these people,” he said.

Lecturer in Social Work and Human Services in Wagga Wagga Mrs Sabine Wardle (pictured) has conducted research into health disparities in regional areas.

She contributed to an article regarding how to help those experiencing issues identified in Struggle Street and The Truth About series.

“I’m part of regional Australia where we experience these things first-hand,” she said.

“Social workers are advocates for change and by highlighting these issues we can invite ideas towards solutions and bring some further help.

“It’s overwhelming but unless we experience that emotion, we don’t realise how tough it is for some people.”

The Truth About series is currently airing on SBS and is available for viewing online on SBS On Demand.

Dr Fredrik Velander, a lecturer in Social Work and Human Services in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, said Struggle Street’s ability to draw attention to Wagga Wagga’s issues could, and should, have some positive consequences.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews, contact Nicole Barlow at Charles Sturt Media on 0429 217 026 or

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