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Community governance of the Bibbulmun Track

Dr Jen George is an academic and consultant passionate about facilitating community-led governance of green infrastructure.

Last week Dr George presented a summary of her PhD research at an event organised by the Bibbulmun Track Foundation, which was well attended by representatives of local government and community land-care groups. Her work included the Foundation as a case study of a successful, resilient and sustainable organisation.

Community governance is about empowering and enabling community management. It is an option when there is a community of citizens passionate about and wanting to participate in management of green infrastructure. It can result in an effective, productive and economically sustainable working relationship between the community and the government (or other managing institution). As described by Dr George, it “challenges the usual paradigm (where) it is assumed that citizens can’t take a direct role in delivery of services or management of projects”.

The ‘community’ with a personal investment in the Bibbulmun Track include the walkers – particularly those who see it as sufficiently worth supporting to take out financial membership – the volunteers, whose contribution comes in the form of time and effort (as well as some out-of-pocket expense, sometimes not insignificant), and the staff and (volunteer) Board, who contribute their time and professional skills to an organisation they believe in.

In the context of the community governance framework, the Bibbulmun Track Foundation is the necessary interface between the government and the ‘community’; the role of the BTF is to enable and strategically guide the effort of the ‘community’.

Jen is a founder and director of Comcorp. They work with organisation to develop strategies and action plans for positive partnerships and best practice community governance. Find out more at comcorp.com.au