Regional Communities

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Introduction

Community participation in the management of the Corangamite region is long-standing and substantial and constitutes a major investment in the conservation of our natural resources. Those involved with managing the land and water resources of the region play a key role in maintaining the natural resources that occur here. Private land managers invest a lot of money and resources into the land they manage and play a key role in the delivery of the integrated catchment management outcomes that are identified in this document.

Many private landholders have made, and will continue to make, substantial investments in natural resource management on their land. Without this private investment – sometimes supported by government, corporate or philanthropic sector investment – very little would have been achieved, and little will be achieved in the future.

The protection or restoration of natural resources on private land often requires individual landholders to voluntarily provide cash or in-kind resources, and to set aside land or water from their agricultural business to create an environmental benefit for the region, the state, and in some cases, the nation. Although protection of natural resources on private land is sometimes supported by government incentives, the full cost is often borne by the private landholder; even when government incentives or support is applied, the private landholder contribution often far exceeds government assistance.

Volunteers also give up their time and provide resources into ensuring the health of the catchment. Community groups and their volunteers are often the link between natural resource management on private and public land. Many groups are very active and make a significant contribution to the protection of natural resources on public and private land and should continue to be encouraged and supported.

Those directly responsible for the management of land and water can be influenced by and partner with a range of other stakeholders in the delivery of on ground outcomes.

There are many reasons why the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority and other agencies engage with the community in natural resource management (NRM). These objectives extend beyond implementation of best-practice NRM and include: gathering local knowledge to inform priority setting and program implementation; building the capacity of the community to respond to future threats to environmental assets; establishing a constituency to support investment in NRM; and establishing relationships that demonstrate trustworthiness and build trust in the organization.