The NSW Nationals in the federal government are continuing to help communities exposed to drought, with a new initiative set to launch in Wagga Wagga.
Farmers and communities in southern NSW will benefit from the new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub in Wagga Wagga, announced by Nationals Leader Michael McCormack and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.
Mr Littleproud said the hub – one of eight to be established across the country – will be a shopfront for farmers to access innovative technologies and practices that will enable them to be better prepared and more resilient to drought.
“It will be a ‘hub and spoke’ model with resources, including staff and programs, spread throughout the region 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,” Mr Littleproud said.
It will support farmers and communities from Broken Hill to Cobar, from the Macquarie catchment to the Hawkesbury, and all the way to the Victorian and South Australian borders.
The hubs are the centrepiece of the NSW Nationals in the federal government’s $86 million Future Drought Fund Research and Adoption programme and will become flagship precincts for agricultural research.
Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack said drought can hit all enterprises in the region, with the powerhouse industries of livestock, wool, cropping, rice, cotton, perennial horticulture (including viticulture) all impacted.
“The region is a significant contributor to our nation’s economy, with agriculture supporting thousands of jobs and many local communities,” Mr McCormack said. “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.”