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APEN 2001 International Conference

Toowoomba, 4th-5th October 2001

Report No:


Title of Topic:

Facilitating Commitment and Opportunity for Cross Agency Collaboration on Natural Resource Management Issues

Name of Leader:

Cheryl Sisson

Names of Participants:

Maxine Schache, John Bagshaw, Lee-Anne Mintern, Ashley Sewell, Vickie Webb, Lynnette Pirie, Alison Spencer, Michelle Hollaway, Scott Ledger, Katie Bowman, Laurie Capill, Kathryn Galear, Andy Grodecki, Gordon Brown, Eric Anderson, Peter Long

Main points of discussion

  • Opportunity for joint funding applications between State Agencies and community groups
  • Successful operation of interagency teams approach in the Victorian scenario, and the ability to operate across boundaries
  • Increasing growth of bureaucracy in catchment management groups as funding increases, etc
  • Need for definition of clear roles and agendas at beginning of working relationships – negotiate contracts
  • Opportunity for Agencies to change their attitude to one of supporting community groups in development of scientific and technical skills, instead of retaining such skills in-house
  • Celebrate diversity between Agencies and community groups
  • Identify overlap and gaps between service providers
  • Collaboration often exists at the regional/operational level, but not at the ‘head office’ level
  • Issues encountered include patch-protection, personality differences, perceived loss of power and recognition
  • Need for energy, initiative and motivation by individual officers to make ‘it’ happen
  • Need for a ‘champion’ at management level to overcome blockages, especially when issues/opportunities not recognised or acknowledged as core business
  • Need to understand the constraints, agendas, priorities and structure of all stakeholders in the collaboration
  • Examples of successful models of across establishment work, such as the ‘MacDonald’s and Conservation Foundation’ model, and one used by the USA military

Major outcomes (what have you achieved from this discussion; how can this make a difference; what else do you need to do?)

  • Katie will circulate examples given (MacDonald’s and USA military) as a basis for development of interagency collaboration
  • Very worthwhile discussion of constraints and opportunities that will help facilitate collaborative and interagency work
  • Identification of some criteria needed to facilitate collaboration such as:
    • Need for champion in management,
    • Requirement for collaboration in funding scenarios,
    • Encourage team-based approach,
    • Consider changes to Agency attitude when dealing with community groups
    • Development of partnerships with clear agendas and roles (identified up-front),
    • Need to understand and respect ‘culture’ of different agencies and stakeholders,

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