Since 2002, the Australian Natural Heritage Trust Phase 2 (NHT2) has required community groups seeking funds for natural resource management projects to have developed nationally accredited regional strategies and investment plans. This case study reports on the progress of one such regional (and sub-regional) group, examining in particular the perceptions of the community group members and other stakeholders of the overall process. Through interviews, participant observation and document analysis in 2004-05, the process of developing a regional strategy and an investment plan by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council in Western Australia, and the involvement of regional stakeholders in the process, were examined. While the concept of regional-scale management was perceived favourably by community interviewees, their concerns related to increasing bureaucracy, the need for further local involvement, more on-ground action instead of further planning, the relevance of the regional Council to local communities, and the motives of Council members. Communication with regional stakeholders was extensive in preparing the regional strategy, but fell short during the development of the investment plan. The success of the regional planning process will be evidenced by whether members of the regional community actively implement regional priorities, and whether long-term funding and support from the State and Australian governments are provided.