Case Study: Ensay and Swifts Creek Wild Dog Groups—East Gippsland, Victoria
The neighbouring communities of Ensay and Swifts Creek face similar threats from wild dogs but are shown to respond in very different ways. This case study reveals how local context influences the way an issue is understood by different communities. Through dissent and discord, a significant connection between knowledge of the issue and power to steer the agenda is identified.
Despite their differences of opinion, each group articulates a common goal to sustain a viable sheep industry. They share similar concerns for the survival of their townships and a desire to actively manage their own destiny. It is in their approach to gaining new knowledge and working with government that their paths begin to diverge. Each develops a strategy that draws on the perceived strengths of their landholder community. This reveals how uneven development of education, expertise and political capabilities can be influential in shaping a community response.
Information, knowledge and recognition all emerge as significant factors in developing a confident community-led program. These cases document a new phase of government investment in community engagement for wild dog control. There is an indication that awareness of how important context can become part of a new engagement practice in the state. It is likely that the benefits will extend beyond the sheep industry to the capacity of the local community.
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