A new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub will be established in Cairns to transform the way that North and Far North Queensland producers and communities prepare for and respond to drought.
The Morrison Government will invest $8 million over four years through the Future Drought Fund to establish the Cairns Hub.
It will partner with James Cook University who will provide $18.5 million over four years to establish the Hub.
Federal Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said the Tropical North Queensland Hub is one of eight across the country taking a transformational approach to the way farmers and their regions can build their resilience to drought.
James Cook University will oversee the co-design with farmers and communities of innovative projects to ensure they deliver what is needed in the region.
“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.
“This Hub brings together a wide range of partner organisations including Enterprise Management Group, Sensand Technologies, Landcare Australia, Northern Gulf Resource Management Group, NQ Dry Tropics, Reef Catchments (Mackay Whitsundays Isaac), Southern Gulf Natural Resource Management, Sugar Research Australia, Torres Cape Indigenous Council Alliance, and the University of Queensland.
“These partners will engage directly with farmers, industry, traditional owners and agribusinesses to co-design drought preparedness activities for the whole region.”
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the Tropical North Queensland Hub would be based at James Cook University’s Ideas Lab in Cairns.
He said four nodes would also be located in the Gulf, Mackay and the Whitsundays, Cape York and Burdekin.
“This is a fantastic outcome for our city and wider region,” Mr Entsch said.
“Drought impacts industries right across the Tropical North Queensland region including sugar, beef, aquaculture, dairy, vegetable, citrus and tropical fruit.
“The Tropical North Queensland Hub will be a shopfront for producers to access innovative technologies and practices.
“The placement of nodes across North Queensland will ensure research and development helps the entire region to be more resilient and prepared for drought.”