This paper argues that present institutional settings in rural Australia are inadequate for the task of bringing about a culture which is fair and inclusive. The solution is seen to lie in policies for rural Australia that support an infusion of new values into our institutions - values associated with the development of bridging ties and relationships through cooperation, goodwill, common-wealth and tolerance. Design and re-design of institutions with such qualities will require engagement of the community in new ways. In the first instance, informed debate is required on values and options, involving analysis of scenarios for and the implications of, change. Concepts of 'community' must be revived in the context of a lifelong learning culture supported by social capital. Revised approaches to work and learning, improved processes for community and stakeholder involvement, policies to more actively involve women, a central role for the arts, and re-assessment of property rights arrangements, are seen to be important tools for change.