A new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, to be based Dookie, is set to transform the way Victorian farmers and communities prepare for and respond to drought.
Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, said the Hub would oversee the co-design and delivery of innovative projects and practices aimed at boosting drought resilience and agricultural productivity.
“This Victorian Hub will be based at the University of Melbourne’s regional campus in Dookie, north-east of Shepparton, with five nodes in Birchip, Mulwala, Warragul, Inverleigh and Mildura,” Mr Drum said.
“The nodes will be led by Birchip Cropping Group, Riverine Plains, Food and Fibre Gippsland, Southern Farming Systems, and Mallee Regional Innovation Centre.”
Mr Drum, who announced the $8 million of federal funding this morning alongside University of Melbourne representatives, said the Hub and its nodes would engage directly with farmers, traditional owners, and agribusinesses to take on the challenges of drought.
“The Victorian Hub and each node operate as a shopfront for farmers to access innovative technologies and practices that will benefit the whole Victorian agriculture sector with people on the ground,” Mr Drum said.
“Victoria was hit hard by the recent Australia-wide drought, which took a heavy toll on individual household income, as well as entire industries and communities.
“Getting regional people working together to ensure research and development is useful for Victorians is a vital step towards successful drought management in our communities.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said the Victorian Hub was one of eight across the country. All have been established to support development and uptake of innovative technologies and practices that improve drought resilience.
“Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs have come about through the forward-thinking Future Drought Fund – a long term, sustained investment of $100 million each year to build drought preparedness,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Drought is a natural part of the Australian landscape and these hubs will play a critical role in helping farmers and agricultural communities to be better prepared.”
Dookie Hub Co-Director Professor Tim Reeves, from the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, said this investment would make a real difference to how we deal with future droughts on farms, in the management of our environment, and in our communities.
“This hub brings together a great team focused on delivering real impacts for the agri-food sector in Victoria, in terms of enhanced drought resilience and greater adaptation to our changing climate,” Professor Reeves said.
“A feature of this hub is the unprecedented co-operation between the partners to co-design and co-govern innovative approaches to future drought resilience.
“It bodes well for the team to make a real difference to our regional industries and communities.”
- This is one of eight Hubs to be established around the country through the Federal Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund;
- The Hubs are the centrepiece of the Federal Government’s $86 million Future Drought Fund Research and Adoption Program;
- They will become flagship precincts for agricultural innovation;
- The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will lead the co-ordination of the Hubs, supporting them to become interconnected agricultural innovation precincts;