Future Drought Fund continues delivering drought resilience for regional Australia

Future Drought Fund continues delivering drought resilience for regional Australia

The Australian Government is getting on with the job of building nationwide drought resilience with its continued support to farmers and regional communities across Australia through the Future Drought Fund.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said Australia’s farmers are facing the reality of more frequent and severe droughts.

“The Australian Government continues to help farmers and regional communities prepare for future drought through the $5 billion Future Drought Fund,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The measures in this Budget continue a strong focus on innovation and supporting the development and uptake of drought resilient farming practices and technologies.”

The $94.5 million investment at Budget brings our total investment to $420 million, ensuring we continue to support farmers, communities and industries in the agricultural sector. The new programs include:

  • $40 million – long-term trials to test the potential of new drought resilient practices, giving farmers the confidence and information to apply the practices on their property. The practices will be identified with industry.
  • $14.3 million – extension activities for projects that help farmers take up practices that support drought resilience
  • $10 million – commercialisation – to help people get from a great idea to a commercially viable investment through commercialisation facilitation support
  • $1.6 million – scholarships with Nuffield Australia to recognise and support innovators and leaders in the field of drought resilience, as part of their prestigious annual awards
  • $21.6 million for more resilient communities – up to 35 regions to get a tailored package of support to build community resilience through leadership, mentoring, and support for local networks and organisations
  • $7 million for Climate services for agriculture – to complete the development of the Climate Services for Agriculture platform, to make climate information more useful and allow farmers to understand how the changing climate may impact their farm across Australia

“This investment backs in our four-year drought resilience funding plan with $325 million already committed and rolling out across Australia.

“These programs are recommended by an independent consultative committee comprising experts in fields that include agricultural economics, climate risk, rural and regional development and natural resource management,” Minister Littleproud said.

These new investments build on initiatives already underway, including the establishment of 8 Innovation Hubs across Australia with over 40 locations, grants to trial and demonstrate drought resilient practices, assisting communities and farmers to plan for drought and building community capacity and leadership. Existing investments from the Future Drought Fund includes:

Harnessing innovation – $121 million

  • $66 million to establish 8 regionally based Innovation Hubs providing practical advice and support to farmers on drought resilience strategies and practices with over 40 locations across Australia
  • $20.88 million for their adoption officers, hub projects and enabling activities
  • 46 projects for development, extension, adoption and commercialise drought resilient practices and technologies.

Better land management – $36.4 million

  • 106 projects underway focused on trial and demonstration of land management practices that can support productivity during, and coming out of, droughts.
  • The new suite of innovation programs delivered through the 2022-23 Federal Budget will also have a focus on better land management outcomes.

Better risk management – $116.82 million

  • $75.97 million Farm Business Resilience Program – direct support to farmers to build their business and risk management capabilities and assist plan for drought. Over 1,000 farmers have accessed the support, with a target of reaching as many as 17,000 over the next 3 years.
  • $40.85 million Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program – local councils and other regional organisations are supported to develop plans. Plans are underway in 15 regions, with all agricultural regions reached over the next 3 years. Once the plans are agreed, grant funding is available to implement the plans.

Better Climate Information – $32 million

  • $32 million for Climate Services for Agriculture and Drought Self-Assessment Tools which are making climate information more assessable and useful and users can understand how future climate might impact their region, what they grow and how they grow it.

More resilient communities – $19.2 million

  • $7.75 million to support community organisations and networks in preparing and responding to drought. 93 projects are underway.
  • $11.45 million for Drought Resilient Leaders – developing over 400 drought resilience community leaders across 12 regions and a national drought preparedness mentoring network of over 500.

For more information on the Future Drought Fund visit www.awe.gov.au/fdf

Source: Australian Government