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The Federal Government is launching a Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub in Southern New South Wales and Wagga, to be led by Charles Sturt University.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said the Southern New South Wales Hub is one of eight across the country to be established that will support development and uptake of innovative technologies and practices that improve drought resilience.

Charles Sturt University will also oversee the co-design with farmers and communities of innovative projects to ensure they deliver what is needed in the region.

“Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs have come about through the forward-thinking Future Drought Fund – a long-term, sustained investment of $100 million each year to build drought preparedness,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The Southern New South Wales Hub will be a shopfront for farmers to access innovative technologies and practices that enable them to be more prepared and resilient to drought.

“The Hub will be a ‘hub and spoke’ model with resources, including staff and programs spread throughout Southern New South Wales to capitalise on the members skills, assets and networks to generate drought resilience outcomes in areas such as water management, food security, farming systems, agribusiness, community building, regional development and environment.”

Federal Member for Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, said the Southern New South Wales Hub would be headquartered at Charles Sturt University AgriPark, Wagga Wagga campus.

“Drought can hit all enterprises in the region, with the powerhouse industries of livestock, wool, cropping, rice, cotton, perennial horticulture (including viticulture) all impacted,” Mr McCormack said.

“The region is a significant contributor to our nation’s economy, with agriculture supporting thousands of jobs and many local communities.

“Farm production in the Riverina alone was worth $2.5 billion in 2018-19, accounting for 21 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production for the state.”

The Southern New South Wales Hub, the result of a competitive grant process, will support farmers and communities from Broken Hill to Cobar, the Macquarie catchment to the Hawkesbury, and all the way to the Victorian and South Australian state borders.

The hub will bring together organisations like Farming Systems Group Alliance, Local Land Services, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Rural Aid, local universities and the First National Governance Circle to work with farmers and communities.

The Farming Systems Groups Alliance is represented by Farmlink and includes Central West Farming Systems, FarmLink Research, Holbrook Landcare Network, Irrigated Cropping Council, Irrigation Research and Extension Committee, Riverine Plains and Southern Growers, and over 3,500 farmer members.

The hub is supported by the Federal Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund.

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