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Ag News

$8 million for Northern Australia to better manage climate risk

  • By: "Prime" Ag News
  • Jan 22, 2018

Graziers across Northern Australia will benefit from an $8 million partnership between the Palaszczuk Government, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) to better manage drought and climate risks.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner launched the Northern Australian Climate Project (NACP) from Toowoomba today and said it was essential to invest in research to better prepare for the future.

“The Palaszczuk Government has provided $17.5 million over five years to improve the capacity of the agriculture sector to manage drought and our variable and changing climate.

“Research includes working with national and international climate modellers to improve seasonal forecasts and improving predictions of multi-year droughts.

“Our focus is to help producers build resilience and increase business productivity, leading to more profitable and sustainable grazing businesses.

“This will be achieved by developing resources that will focus on reducing land degradation and boosting productivity in our variable climate through a range of tools, digital technologies and networks.

Mr Furner said the project is part of a wider program initiated by the Palaszczuk Government that is bringing together industry, leading academics and primary producers.

“The Drought and Climate Adaptation Program (DCAP), of which NACP is one of nine projects, is an example of how this partnership can work,” he said.

“DCAP brings together the best climate scientists, and cutting-edge researchers in the state, nationally and globally to work with government and industry leaders to help Queensland primary producers better manage drought and climate impacts.

“Other industry, government and university partners see the value in these projects and are making significant contributions to build on our investment for the benefit of the agriculture sector.

The $8 million NACP partnership consists of a $3 million contribution from the Queensland Government, $4 million from MLA through the MLA Donor Company (MDC) and $960,000 from USQ.

MLA R&D Manager Doug McNicholl said the project would assist in improving the capacity of the red meat industry to manage drought and climate risk across northern Australia.

“A key focus of the project will be improving the knowledge and skills of producers across northern Australia to enable proactive management of climate variability which minimises exposure to environmental, profitability and productivity losses,” Mr McNicholl said.

“We are utilising a combination of innovative research, development and extension projects to build capacity across the red meat industry in northern Australia – and will see the delivery of a range of projects identified through Phase 1 of the NACP.”

USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said that Queensland has the highest year-to-year rainfall variability of anywhere in the world.

“Arming primary producers with knowledge of predicted climate will greatly enhance productivity and profitability in such a challenging environment,” Professor Mackenzie said.

“The program will bring together world-class climate scientists and drought specialists to help make better predictions of the season ahead, of multi-year droughts, and the start and end of the summer wet seasons.”

The partnership reinforces USQ’s strong industry links to find solutions to major agricultural problems.

Mr Furner acknowledged the value of investing in a project with industry as it demonstrates the value of partnerships to deliver the maximum benefit to producers.

“By working together with peak industry bodies and leading scientists and researchers, we can better assist our primary producers and the agri-business sector to manage the negative impacts of severe climate events and take better advantage of good seasons when they occur.”

For more information on NACP or the Drought and Climate Adaptation Program visit www.daf.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.