Rangelands R&D Program project in the Western Division of NSW

Case Study A

There had been many reviews and enquiries into the use and management of the land and water resources of the Western Division of NSW, going back to the 1920s and even earlier. The project team were well aware that their R&D was on its own not going to deal with all the NRM issues, and that its outputs would be just one of many sources of information. From the outset, the project team thought about what they were going to leave behind at the completion of the project, and how to make sure it was both useful to, and used by, a wide range of organisations, groups and individuals with responsibilities and/or interests in the Western Division.

Their starting point was to identify as many of those organisations, groups and individuals as they could and define their responsibilities and interests. They also prepared maps of the key types and sources of information relevant to land use and NRM in the Division, including the interactions between them. This enabled the team to see who the key players were in effecting change, and how their project’s data and outputs needed to be fitted with other knowledge in order to deliver coherent and consistent information that would be used by land managers, policy makers, agribusiness, politicians, conservation interests and the general community.

As part of their actions to ensure project legacy, the project team put a lot of effort into engaging with organisations and people both within and external to (for example State government policy makers) the Western Division.

Time was taken to explain the purpose of the project, how the outputs could assist the different groups to meet their own objectives, and to build trust and confidence.

Project outputs and knowledge were packaged and delivered in quite different ways to suit the differing needs of the range of target audiences; this was reflected in the different types of products available at project completion.

The project team integrated their work into the West 2000 Strategy being managed through the NSW Government, and helped to develop awareness and increase the skills of key players by involving them in the research process itself. Workshops and visits within the Western Division helped those living there to consider the many issues involved in sustainable land use and management, and to understand where data and knowledge on this topic could be obtained.

These actions to achieve legacy helped to ensure that even though the speed of the political process far outstripped that of the R&D and of the community’s ability to process new information and reach decisions, the R&D project left behind a lasting benefit through increased awareness and understanding, new information and better access to it, and a willingness by different interest groups to engage with each other.

By Phil Price, former Program Manager

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