This document reports on discussions from a workshop that brought together Natural Resource Management professionals representing a range of stakeholders across the sector. This is the final document of a three-part series produced from the initiative.

The workshop was held over two days (4-5 May 2011) at the Australian National University. Workshop attendees were identified by the Reference Group to achieve broad representation across the Natural Resource Management (NRM) sector, including local, State and Commonwealth governments, regional NRM leaders and practitioners, the non-government sector including industry and civil society groups, and the NRM research community. The nature of the workshop precluded a comprehensive representation of all stakeholders and perspectives; in particular the community sector (eg private and community land managers) was not comprehensively represented at the workshop.

The Australian Government’s immediate interest in the outputs from the NRM initiative relates to their major 2011 review of the Caring for our Country (CFOC) program. The agreed aim was to both deliver specific outputs to feed into the CFOC review, while also stimulating broader discussion of issues relating to integrated NRM, regional policy and planning. In the workshop there was scope to open up some broader questions such as: What role does regional planning have in a national environmental policy setting? Why should and would the Commonwealth Government invest in regional NRM? And, if the Commonwealth is to invest in regional NRM, what form should this take? In posing such questions the intention was not to introduce uncertainty about the Commonwealth’s commitment to regional NRM but rather to open up the review agenda, and stimulate conversation and debate about how best to shape the Commonwealth’s involvement in regional NRM beyond the 2013 CFOC program.

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