Building capacity to engage: community engagement or government engagement?
In spite of the significant government focus on community engagement, there is some question as to how effectively community views are incorporated and heard by government. In exploring these concerns, we suggest that it is more effective to consider the issue from the perspective of communities engaging government rather than government engaging community. In doing this, we have developed a methodological approach that focuses on building the capacity of community to more effectively engage government in an effort to strengthen their own community in ways that are meaningful within that community. We illustrate this process with a case study of government engagement undertaken by representatives from the small rural community of Tara in western Queensland. While the case study focuses on community engaging government, this approach could be equally well applied to other forms of non-government institutional engagement that are relevant in other community settings.