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Approaches to achieve more effective engagement in NRM and future needs

Niels Roling and Janice Jiggins


Participants were formed into 12 groups and, under the guidance of the facilitators, addressed the issue of providing guidance on the future needs of NRM to the Federal government, State agencies and regional bodies. A spokesperson for each group reported back to the plenary session the details of the group discussions previously recorded on butcher’s paper are as follows:.

Federal government

  • The M&E policy tends to be too restrictive, needs to be inclusive. Learning from mistakes, rather than being too output orientated
  • Long-term investment in extension is essential to effective NRM
  • Join us in a conversation about parts of the system we need to urgently improve
  • The commonwealth needs to develop an agenda & profile for NRM so that NRM is everybody’s business
  • Explicitly valuing in-kind support by landholders in contributing to NRM outcomes
  • Adopt a funding policy with appropriate timescales & frameworks eg.10-15yrs
  • Adopt a long-term funding & resource commitment
  • Long-term funding, regional arrangements
  • Demonstrate leadership & commitment thru election cycles
  • The feds co-ordinate summit between 3 levels to expand on the opportunities to allow for long-term delivery of NRM programs
  • We are committed: how far and how long will you walk with us?
  • Recognise the economic impact and lost investment of short-term contracts on NRM in general.

State agencies

  • 1-To much competition for people’s (local people) time by various state agencies. 2-NRM bodies governance and infrastructure will need lots of support to fully develop
  • Essential to integrate NRM & production in extension
  • Invest seriously in relationships, networks & support to regional bodies
  • Essential that state make an effort to maintain relationships with community in the long-term
  • Systems that enable NRM bodies to carry forward unspent project funds to enable project completion at later date
  • 1-Consult with regional communities & incorporate their NEEDS into policies, programs and legislation. 2- Remove legislative impediments to the adoption of sustainable NRM
  • Allocate time for regional staff to liaise with NRM stakeholders & stop looking at NRM/regional arrangements as an experiment
  • 1-Need start looking at natural resources as “ours”, start targeting urban people, town/rural & peri-urban people and land managers
  • Develop Australian land-use, landscape, land management practices.
  • 1. Align the delivery of production & NRM extension services to the overall needs across the community. 2. Recognition of the role of other groups, esp. local government in supporting delivery of NRM
  • We (regions) would value a partnership that aligns with our policies, plans & investments
  • To maintain the channels with regional bodies, allow the resources to be available to regional bodies.

Regional bodies

  • Long-term funding is not a reality, look at ways of retaining knowledge & initiatives we’ve developed. Have to invest more in development of the people, to move on, capacity building
  • Incorporate the social issues into processes (the triple helix – landscapes, livelihoods & lifestyles)
  • Increase your awareness of the bodies of skills & experience that can help your RB business
  • Needs to focus on the people both internally & externally (capacity & awareness increased in community; skills & weaknesses of the staff)
  • Develop processes which increase sharing & improve relationships between regional bodies
  • 1-Feedback regional perspective & needs to the feds & state. 2- Be more proactive in driving the regional agenda
  • More cooperation between regional bodies to increase their capacity to learn, deliver & promote
  • Less competition & more collaboration between the NRM bodies
  • 1-be inclusive. 2-stand up for local communities in negotiating direction
  • Regional group collective (RB Chairs) to drive the change from the rhetoric of cooperation to reality
  • Our strength is through interdependence rather than independence
  • Challenge not to become what they have replaced

The Big Issues

  • Need for coordinated approach across three levels for NRM extension in Australia – a national framework.
  • Long-term investment. What is long-term investment? 3yrs, 15yrs, 100yrs? Align with desired outcomes (i.e. How long have we got?)
  • Among regional bodies need to improve collaboration & work together more effectively.
  • Increase awareness in the community of NRM, in a way they understand.
  • Need for support for “ourselves” (e.g. staff of regional bodies, state bodies, extension officers).
  • Ensure the NRM as business results in long-term change on the farm and other agricultural practices.
  • Greater collaboration between state and regional bodies.

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