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Building capacity through trust and understanding.

Julia Shadlow-Bath, Kate Masters and Emma Blacklock

Southern Gulf Catchments, PO Box 2211, Mt Isa Qld 4825. Email


In late 2004 Southern Gulf Catchments Ltd (SGC) participated in a Commonwealth Government Pilot Project for Capacity Building prior to, and during, the development of Regional Natural Resource Management plans. A second stage in May 2005 looked at ‘dealing with change’.

In a catchment the size of Victoria and with a population of 30 000, NRM is different to that of high intensity agricultural and service-industry based regions.

Land-Manager/Stakeholder decisions have been negatively effected by:

  • Haphazard experiences resulting in a restricted understanding of NRM and therefore a reluctance to fully participate;
  • Significant change and technological advances over a relatively short time period;
  • Government removing support networks – State and Federal;
  • Government failing to take responsibility for previous NRM advice i.e. prickly acacia;
  • Commodity price fluctuations, inputs prices and consumer demand decreasing profit margins;
  • Government policies failing to realistically address the implications of property management and NRM decision making.

Through one-on-one engagement, community consultation and listening to the concerns and aspirations of the community, SGC has developed trust with our stakeholders in the community.

NRM in Queensland should be about developing support and realistic information for people to make informed decisions.

Whether it is through policy regulations, market demands or concern about the environment, natural resource management knowledge exists but while change is necessary, ‘real people’ need ‘real’ on ground terms and tools to implement the change process and maintain this trust.

Media Summary

To properly implement NRM for ‘real people’ there needs to be ‘real’ on ground tools and terms so that the process can be implemented on a broad and effective scale.

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