A ‘drought hub’ will be established in Tasmania to improve regional drought resilience, with the support of $8 million in funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund successfully secured by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) at the University of Tasmania.
The ‘Tasmanian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub’ will comprise of researchers, primary producers and community groups, working together to enhance drought resilient practice adoption and research in Tasmania.
The hub will be part of a strong national network of eight hubs located in key agricultural and climatic zones around Australia, funded under the Commonwealth Government’s Drought and Resilience Research and Adoption program.
With a strong focus on collaboration, each hub will be regionally focused and aim to ensure agricultural research is useful and accessible, increasing opportunities to commercialise innovation.
TIA was fundamental in driving the successful proposal in Tasmania.
Tasmanian Chief Project Investigator, TIA’s Associate Professor Kathy Evans, said the hub would provide a unique opportunity to establish a strong community network to improve drought resilience.
“The Tasmanian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, for the first time, brings together the major players – farmers, land and water managers, researchers, and Tasmanian Aboriginal people – who, together can reduce the risks associated with drought in Tasmania,” she said.
“As hot and dry years increase in number, a multi-stakeholder partnership is needed to innovate for drought resilience, optimal water management and self-reliance.
“Our hub will enable drought preparedness in Tasmania through collective actions that sustain Tasmania’s high-value, clean, green international brand.”
TIA Director Michael Rose welcomed the funding and the benefits the hub would bring to Tasmania.
“The potential for drought presents both significant opportunities and challenges for the agricultural sector in Tasmania,” Professor Rose said.
“Better adaptation to more frequent droughts and the development of resilience is extremely important for our industry and one of our major research focuses at TIA.
“The Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub is a timely development that will enable our industry to grow towards the target of the Tasmanian Government of a farmgate value of $10 billion by 2050.”
The creation of the hub is also supported by partner co-contributions of $13.2 million over 4 years, including more than $1 million in funding from the University of Tasmania.
TIA is a joint venture of the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government.