May 31, 2024

Over 150 small landholders in the Corangamite region now understand best-practice environmental management techniques and are receiving up to $2000 to fund on-ground sustainable works on their properties, thanks to the Small Blocks Big Dreams project.

Delivered by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) in partnership with local Landcare networks, the project offered six rounds of workshops and property tours from early 2022 to April 2024 to assist owners of small rural properties better care for their properties and the environment.

Small Blocks Big Dreams was tailored for owners of smaller properties with varied land uses across the region - specifically small producers, lifestyle and bush block owners and horse and other livestock owners.

Karen O’Keefe, a Sustainable Agriculture Facilitator at Corangamite CMA, said the project was conceived in 2021 due to the increase in small landholders moving to the Corangamite region since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Corangamite region stretches from Ballarat to Geelong and along the coast to Peterborough in the west of Victoria, and is one of Australia’s fastest growing regions. With so many tree-changers moving to the area, we wanted to empower small property owners to care for the biodiversity and health of their land and water - to teach them to farm more sustainably, think strategically, and develop tailored action plans for their properties,” she said.

This is the first time the Corangamite CMA has tailored a program to small landholders and the unique challenges they face. “Even though a property might be small, it can still have a big impact – every little bit counts when it comes to caring for the biodiversity of our catchment,” Ms O'Keefe said.

“Small Blocks Big Dreams also aimed to create a community of catchment stewards - likeminded people who can mentor others and have access to a network of information and guidance from other landholders and Landcare facilitators in their local areas. We wanted to connect with people who hadn’t been in touch with Landcare or the Corangamite CMA before and show them how we can support them with their property management.”

Following the workshop series and tours, landholders were offered site visits from both Corangamite CMA and Landcare staff to set their land stewardship action plans into practice and were offered up to $2000 to support delivery of on-ground works.

“The feedback has been fantastic over the four years. People loved getting together, meeting local people with similar properties, who are facing similar challenges on their land,” said Ms O’Keefe.

Andrea de Kaue, a Facilitator from the Southern Otway Landcare Network said, “I think the most important thing that the program has brought to people is actually bringing them together in a room or in a space to learn. Sometimes you don't know the questions to ask, and you don't know the help you need.”

Christine Shurvell, who attended the Bush Block stream of the project said, “there's been such a depth and breadth of knowledge given so readily and freely and humbly and to see it in practice - not just in words or theory - has really inspired me.”

The Small Blocks Big Dreams project is one of 11 Our Catchments, Our Communities regional on ground projects, funded by the Victorian Government to support catchment stewardship, health, and resilience.  For more information visit

Hear what participants had to say about their involvement in Small Blocks Big Dreams below.  

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