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Minister announces $19M drought hub

World-renowned climate scientists, agricultural experts and community researchers from the University of Southern Queensland will lead an Australian Government hub to help drought-proof Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management the Hon David Littleproud MP today (9 April 2021) announced details of the first of eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs, a flagship of the multi-billion-dollar Future Drought Fund.

The Australian Government will invest $8 million in the University of Southern Queensland led hub over four years, with more than $11 million contribution from hub members.

The University of Southern Queensland will head the Southern Queensland/Northern New South Wales hub, headquartered in Toowoomba with nodes in Stanthorpe, Roma, Longreach, Lismore and Narrabri.

University of Southern Queensland Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor John Bell emphasised the importance of a holistic approach to drought preparedness.

“Despite its reoccurring nature, drought often results in devastating economic and social impacts,” he said.

“The Southern Queensland/Northern New South Wales region is subject to extreme variations in year-to-year climate.

“By connecting research expertise with existing on-the-ground knowledge, we’ll help empower primary producers to be more profitable and adaptable, as well as reduce community vulnerability.

“We need to work together now to ensure the future growth and success of our region.”

The Southern Queensland/Northern New South Wales hub will work closely with industry, community and First Nations People and Traditional Owner groups throughout the region

University of Southern Queensland Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said the announcement recognised the University’s global leadership in drought and resilience research.

“We are a key service centre supporting rural communities and farmers through highly relevant research and outreach throughout the region,” she said.

“The University leads the Rural Economies Centre of Excellence, Queensland Drought Mitigation Centre, as well as the Queensland Government’s Drought and Climate Adaptation Program (including the Northern Australia Climate Program).

“From dedicated climate science and drought mitigation through our Centre for Applied Climate Sciences to our Institute for Resilient Regions’ economics, cultural heritage and mental health research, we have the ideal expertise to lead the Federal Governments efforts in this space.”

woman, man and man smiling
University of Southern Queensland Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie; Hub Director and USQ researcher Professor Roger Stone; and Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management the Hon David Littleproud MP.