• The eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs will collectively be given $20 million in additional funding
  • This will enable the Dookie-based Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub to expand its focus to drive agricultural innovation beyond drought
  • Investment builds on the $66 million commitment to the hubs through the Future Drought Fund
  • The hubs can expand their remit into fisheries and aquaculture
  • Trialling new technologies and practices is a high priority

The Federal Government is expanding the Dookie-based Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub to accelerate agricultural innovation, drive commercialisation, and create jobs.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud, said the Federal Government had allocated an additional $2.5 million of funding for each hub to develop regionally focused and responsive innovation and adoption strategies, as well as to undertake activities.

“This investment is the next phase in the evolution of the drought hubs from being just drought focused to being focused on innovation more broadly,” Mr Littleproud said.

The Victorian-based hub at Dookie – led by the University of Melbourne – was one of eight established across the country in April this year through the Federal Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund.

It was made possible by an $8 million investment from the Federal Government, and $22 million contribution from hub members.

“These hubs are key to unlocking the potential of the agricultural innovation system, enabling people to collaborate and deliver regionally targeted productivity gains,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The hubs will build connections between researchers, technology developers, investors, producers and agribusinesses to drive innovation and digital technology uptake across industry and the supply-chain.

“The hubs will always be a shopfront for farmers to access innovative technologies and practices that enable them to be more prepared and resilient to drought.

“Now, as part of the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda, we are expanding their remit into broader agricultural innovation activities and outcomes.

“We are providing the right conditions to help the agricultural sector to modernise, improve, innovate and grow.”

Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, said the expansion will build on the good work of the Drought Resilience Hub located at Dookie, with nodes in Birchip, Mulwala, Warragul, Inverleigh and Mildura.

“The Dookie hub will become the flagship for agricultural innovation in Victoria,” Mr Drum said.

“It’s a physical platform for farmers, traditional owners and agribusinesses from across our great state to come together and translate research and knowledge to make real impacts on the ground.

“The Dookie hub will continue to support our farmers and communities to get ahead of the game with drought and drive agricultural innovation.”

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Key facts:

  • Under the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda, the government is providing additional funding to the eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs to expand their current remit of drought resilience to broader agricultural innovation outcomes.
  • $20 million in additional funding is available to support activities which will lead to uptake of innovation by producers, stimulate collaboration and increase commercialisation.
  • The key activities of the hubs will include:
      • developing regionally focused and responsive innovation and adoption strategies;
      • providing a local “shopfront” to access to knowledge, advice, and support;
      • collating knowledge relevant to the region so it is accessible and available for adoption, and to understand knowledge gaps and priorities;
      • trialling of new technologies and practices that are high priority;
      • demonstration, extension and communication to support uptake and scaling up of successful innovations;
      • working with researchers to improve their ability to co-design research, so it delivers to end-user needs and context;
      • developing and supporting use of information and decision support tools that help farmers understand and respond to risks and opportunities;
      • attracting commercial investors and supporting commercialisation;
      • building regionally-based entrepreneurial skills and leadership; and
      • linking in with the research and development corporations, where it makes sense.
  • The hubs were established through the forward-thinking Future Drought Fund – a long term, sustained investment of $100 million each year to build drought preparedness and resilience.
  • An independent Advisory Committee chaired by Brent Finlay provides oversight across the hubs, supporting them to become interconnected agricultural innovation precincts.

ENDS

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