This paper contributes to the growing literature on recent changes in policy governance and government/NGO relationships by examining new “regional” governance arrangements for inter-governmental programmes in natural resource management (NRM) in Australia. The focus is on explaining the changing relationships between government and non-government stakeholders in the formulation of “regional”-level natural resource and environmental policy. The paper focuses on governmental structuring of planning partnerships with NGOs, as envisaged and required in recently negotiated inter-governmental programmes. The risks and opportunities inherent in this approach are outlined, together with the ways in which the stakeholders have moved beyond simple forms of consultation to more participatory and collaborative forms of co-governance. Particular attention is given to the state of Queensland, where more rapid and substantial change has been necessary to meet the new requirements. Building on a previous analysis of collaborative partnerships which have charted new directions for large-scale NRM challenges in Queensland (Head - Ryan 2003), the paper suggests that participatory co-governance will remain the trend for the foreseeable future.