State and federal governments in Australia have developed a range of policy instruments for rural areas in Australia that are infused with a new sense of ‘community’, employing leading concepts like social capital, social enterprise, community development, partnerships and community building. This has encouraged local people and organisations to play a greater role in the provision of their local services and has led to the development of a variety of ‘community’ organisations aimed at stemming social and economic decline. In Victoria, local decision-making, before municipal amalgamations, gave small towns some sense of autonomy and some discretion over their affairs. However, following municipal amalgamations these small towns lost many of the resources—legal, financial, political, informational and organisational—associated with their former municipal status. This left a vacuum in these communities and the outcome was the emergence of local development groups. Some of these groups are new but many of them are organisations that have been reconstituted as groups with a broader community focus. The outcomes have varied from place to place but overall there has been a significant shift in governance processes at community level. This paper looks at the processes of ‘community governance’ and how it applies in a number of case studies in Victoria.