Regiol governce describes the structures, processes and relationships by which decisions are made, and power exercised and shared, at spatial levels larger than localities and smaller than the States in most parts of Australia. This paper reports on the first of three case studies examining the current ture and future evolution of regiol governce, as part of an Australian Research Council Discovery Project.1 Focused on the rural and remote region of Central Western Queensland, the study confirms the significance and the potential of the 'region' as a spatial unit of governce, and both the importance and complexity of questions of institutiol design for the future of Australia's regiol level. It locates some of the strengths of regiol governce, including the dymic and responsive ture of informal partnerships, collaboration and networks, but also records the challenges flowing from human capital shortages, wider intergovernmental conflict, problems of fincial sustaibility, and other issues including undeveloped frameworks for leadership and coordition. Identification of these challenges provides a basis for comparison with the governce of other regions, and exploration of more coherent, tiol policy solutions for resolving the place of the region in Australia's federal system.