ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Social research projects for Murray LLS (2015-2016)


The long term commitment by Murray Local Land Services (LLS) to social research and its associated investment has enabled strong collaborations to develop with ILWS, resulting in the following projects:

Community groups capacity check. Allan, C. & Mitchell, M. (2015-2016) Murray LLLS, $29,900

Stakeholder satisfaction survey. Allan, C. & Mitchell, M. (2015 - 2016) Murray LLS, $14,900

Billabong Yanco social research, Allan, C. Mitchell, M., & Minato, W. (2016) Murray LLLS, $30,000

The first two projects were undertaken concurrently.


Associate Professor Catherine Allan, Dr Michael Mitchell & Dr Wendy Minato

Strategic Research Area

Social Research for Regional Natural Resource Management


The Community groups capacity check project, which came about because Murray LLS was looking for a way to inform their investment in group capacity, involved a survey of community groups in the Murray region, including Landcare and producer groups.

The researchers developed a framework for the survey comprised of five capital types – human, social (sub-divided into bonding, bridging and organisational) and physical/financial. The survey (paper, email and on-line versions) was sent to 73 groups (10 of which were subsequently found to be no longer operating); and a 75% response rate was achieved.

The researchers found that:

  • Overall, the groups had high levels of human and social capital with highest scores associated with intrinsic categories e.g. group skills and motivation, community engagement/catalyst, respect and trust
  • The groups had slightly lower scores on aspects related to organisational capital and physical/financial capital

The Stakeholder satisfaction survey project, which came about because Murray LLS was keen for groups to provide feedback on Murray LLS performance and its devolved decision-making model, involved a survey of the community groups identified above as well as other stakeholder organisations such as local shires in the Murray LLS region, government agencies and private consultants.  While Murray LLS has done stakeholder satisfaction surveys with individual clients before, this was the first time groups and organisations were surveyed. A response rate of 66% was achieved.

The main findings were:

  • Overall there was a high level of satisfaction with the communication strategies adopted by Murray LLS with enthusiasm expressed for more face-to-face interactions with staff, and appreciation for the offices located in regional towns and staffed by people that lived locally
  • Communication from Murray LLS about funding, training and forthcoming activities was seen as  very important with room for improvement
  • Community groups expressed a need for more opportunities to help them learn and to build their level of activity
  • Satisfaction with Murray LLS's six services areas was high for agriculture, Landcare, environment and Aboriginal programs,  but slightly lower for biosecurity and travelling stock routes, with an associated lower level of awareness about these two service areas


The Billabong Yanco social research project is assisting the Murray LLS's Billabong Yanco Creek Project which involves a social-ecological systems analysis of the landscape. CSU's contribution is to provide a social profile and perspective to contribute to the systems analysis.

The local project steering committee identified social norms as a key influence on the system in all its aspects – social, economic and environmental – and there has been interest in exploring how social norms could be influenced to improve desired project outcomes.


Each of the participating groups received a 'snapshot' report on their group's capacity survey results

Presentations on the results from the capacity and stakeholder satisfaction surveys were provided to:

  • Murray Landcare, including to six new coordinators
  • Murray LLS staff that work with community groups
  • Murray LLS Board

Reports presenting results from the capacity and stakeholder satisfaction surveys

Vella, S., Fuller, G., Mitchell, M., Allan, C. & Burmeister, O. (2018) Automated process to create snapshot reports based on the 2016 Murray Community-based Groups Capacity Survey: User Guide ILWS Report No 116

Mitchell, M. & Allan, C. (2018) Murray Region Community-Based Groups Capacity Needs Assessment: Results of the 2016-2017 Baseline Survey for Murray Local Land Services ILWS Report No 115

Mitchell, M. & Allan, C. (2016) Murray Stakeholder Satisfaction Survey Report 2016 – Groups and Organisations ILWS Report No 99

Minato, W. (2016)  Billabong Yanco socioeconomic profile: a report prepared for the Murray Local Land Services ILWS Report No 95

Presentation to National Landcare Conference, 21-23 September 2016: "Measuring Capacity to Build Landcare"


The first two projects provide baseline surveys. Future surveys undertaken by Murray LLS will use the baseline to understand what is changing, and why.  The results of both surveys will inform decision-making within groups and Murray LLS.


Associate Professor Catherine Allan  Email

Albury-Wodonga Campus

January 2020