You wouldn’t bake a cake without a recipe, so why would you partner? CentacareCQs Carmel Marshall tells us how the partnering work of liveWELL CQ progressed…

In 2010, the Central Queensland Connecting Healthcare in Communities (CHIC) group had been in existence for a while.  As a group, we had worked together to distribute funding, supporting and partnering with health and NGO services to deliver collaborative projects.  While much of our time seemed to be spent “getting dollars out the door” and acquitting funded projects, the group agreed that the value was in the relationships that we were developing.  We had started to talk about ways to keep the relationships going, when the funding (which had brought us to table) finished in 2011.

At about that time, the Gold Coast Primary Care Partnership (which received the CHIC funding in that region) held a conference for CHIC funded groups.  As part of the conference, we were exposed to “effective partnering” processes and concepts, and both Roxanne (our facilitator) and I had a couple of “a-ha!” moments.  This was the beginning of an evolution, with the CHIC group evolving into a “partnership”.

We had all the ingredients – the people around the table had spent time building trust, we wanted to achieve a common outcome (a primary care system that met the needs of community) but didn’t necessarily know how to turn this into a cake…  We knew we needed to work together to achieve our common goal, but realised that we also needed to introduce a framework for effective partnering and back that up with capacity building.

So we embarked on a journey that introduced us to the outstanding Mr Ian Dixon and his Partnering Essentials workshops.  This was followed closely by supporting Roxanne to do the additional training required to become an internationally accredited Partnership Broker through The Partnering Initiative in the UK.  The legacy of this strategic decision, is that the CQ region now has 5 accredited partnership brokers, a partnership broker community of practice that supports and encourages the practice of effective partnering; and a still evolving primary care partnership (now liveWell CQ) that is underpinned by the principles of effective partnering – equity, transparency and mutual benefit.


liveWELL CQ: Carmel MarshallCarmel Marshall (Diocesan Planning and Development Manager) joined the team at Centacare in August 2008. Prior to this role, Carmel worked in regional development on issues such as the impact of the resources boom on communities, attraction and retention of workers in regional Queensland and sourcing alternative workforces from among baby boomers and parents of school age children.

Carmel’s role as Planning and Development Manager brings together her skills and knowledge in sustainable development (emphasis on socio-economic factors), analytical and planning skills and her interest in seeing a thriving, sustainable community services sector to ensure living in regional Queensland remains viable for families and individuals.