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How can community engagement officers build relationships in new, unfamiliar locations? Greg Mifsud has gained this experience by engaging landholders across Australia. He has worked to build trust in communities where he didn’t know anyone, and where he faced community hostility because of the history between key stakeholders. In dealing with these challenges, his genuine good intent and open communication has enabled him to connect with landholders. For Greg, it is equally important to change the behaviour of landholders as it is to change the way that government responds to issues. A lack of ongoing support and short timelines for initiatives can stand in the way of critical relationship-building. Greg acknowledges the discouragement that some community engagement professionals may feel at points in their career. Through both on-ground experience and training sessions, he has come to believe that a failed attempt at engagement is not necessarily a failure on the part of the engagement professional. To this end, he aims to be reflexive regarding his approaches, adjust them and implement new ones whenever possible.
Greg Mifsud is the National Wild Dog Management Coordinator.