Main content area

Crown land management from a volunteer perspective: the Victorian example

Lockstone-Binney, Leonie, Whitelaw, Paul A., Binney, Wayne
Australasian Journal of Environmental Management 2016 v.23 no.2 pp. 130-140
committees, interviews, land management, motivation, public lands, volunteerism
A legion of 8000 volunteer committee members work behind the scenes to manage Crown land reserves across Victoria, also undertaking on-ground works and a multitude of other tasks to safeguard the upkeep of natural and built public assets. These local Committees of Management operate in a largely delegated manner on behalf of the Victorian Government. A number of societal trends appear to be threatening their work. This exploratory study asked a small non-representative sample of committee members, in group interviews, to assess their motives for undertaking this unpaid service and their perceptions of the key challenges associated with volunteering in public land management. The interviews identified four motivations to explain committee participation: (1) community improvement; (2) family legacy; (3) user group representation; and (4) socialising. The implications of these findings for government and communities, in terms of attracting new recruits to Committees of Management and retaining the existing cohort of experienced members, are discussed.