• $29 million awarded nationally for 46 innovative drought projects
  • Two projects will be based in Nicholls
  • Key milestone for the Future Drought Fund Research and Adoption program

The University of Melbourne’s Dookie campus will receive more than $2.1 million in funding for two projects under the Federal Government’s Drought Resilience Innovation Grants program.

The government is investing $29 million nationally via the latest round of the program – which forms part of the Federal Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund – for projects that address the impacts of drought.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud, said the Drought Resilience Innovation projects are a key part of the Federal Government’s investment in innovation to help agriculture become more resilient to future droughts.

“We want Australian farmers, and the communities that depend on them, to thrive through future droughts, so we’re funding new ideas, practices, technologies and ways of doing business,” Mr Littleproud said.

The grants were split into three categories: (i) ideas grants; (ii) proof-of-concept grants; and (iii) innovation grants.

Ideas grants and proof-of-concept grants are for good ideas that need further development, while the innovation grants are for projects that are ready to commence.

The two projects in Nicholls are being led by the University of Melbourne, which oversees the Victorian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub at its Dookie campus.

An innovation grant just shy of $2 million is for a project that will look at the whole-system redesign of broadacre farming in south-east Australia to plan for, cope with, and recover from drought through an inclusive systems approach by bringing together individual proven practices into a diversified farming system.

This will include demonstration of pulses as an integral part of crop rotations in a monocropping/mixed (graze and grain) farming system, where farm resilience is further enhanced by incorporating diversified vegetation cover (native crops/grasses).

“This is one of the innovative projects across Australia with the potential to deliver broad-scale agricultural change,” Mr Littleproud said.

Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, said funding of $109,000 was for a second Dookie-based project that will build capacity for community-led drought resilience action.

“This project seeks to design and test a drought resilience facilitation and leadership framework that identifies, builds, and sustains community capacity to implement strategic resilience planning,” Mr Drum said.

Mr Drum said the Dookie hub allowed organisations to collaborate in response to the needs of farmers, agribusiness and communities in their region.

“The hub is a physical platform for farmers, traditional owners and agribusinesses from across the state to come together and translate research and knowledge to make real impacts on the ground,” Mr Drum said.

For more information about Drought Resilience Innovation Grants, please visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s website.


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