Southern Cross named as partner in three national drought hubs

Aerial shot of drought-affected farm with livestoc.

Southern Cross University has been announced as playing a crucial partnership role in three new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

Southern Cross University will have a ‘knowledge broker’ role in Hubs located in Southern Queensland/Northern New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia– translating research into practice to help primary producers and rural and regional communities prepare for future droughts.

The Australian Government will invest $64 million over eight Hubs across the country that will bring together the expertise of farmers, researchers and Indigenous knowledge owners to co-design and deliver innovative projects and practices to boost drought resilience and agricultural productivity.

Southern Cross University is partnering with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) which heads the Southern Queensland/Northern New South Wales Hub headquartered in Toowoomba with nodes in Stanthorpe, Roma, Longreach, Narrabri and the Southern Cross University campus in Lismore. The Australian Government will invest $8 million in the USQ-led Hub over four years, with more than $11 million contribution from hub members.

Southern Cross will also partner with the University of Tasmania which has the lead role in the Tasmanian Hub, adopting a multi-stakeholder approach for drought resilience, optimal water management and self-reliance. The Tasmania Hub is supported by partner co-contributions of $13.2 million over four years, including more than $1 million in funding from the University of Tasmania.

Southern Cross University also has a knowledge broker role in South West Western Australia (SW WA) hub led by The Grower Group Alliance (GGA). The SW WA Hub will develop farmer-centred drought innovation and adoption practices with more than 40 partners who have provided co-contributions of over $12 million.

Southern Cross will translate research into on-the-ground impact by working with research clusters of farmers and consultants and offering primary producers extension services and innovative education in regenerative agriculture. As a knowledge broker across multiple hubs, it will use its unique position to share learning across the hubs.

Ben Roche, Vice President of Engagement at Southern Cross University, said: “Southern Cross is excited to partner with the University of Southern Queensland, University of Tasmania and The Grower Group Alliance (GGA), to apply our awarded expertise in knowledge exchange to help each Hub translate existing research into practice in ways that empower primary producers to become more resilient to drought in their specific bioregion.”

Lorraine Gordon, Director of Strategic Projects at Southern Cross University, said: “As hot and dry conditions increase, it will take collaboration to address the complexity of challenges associated with drought. We are pleased to offer collaborative and capacity-building expertise to equip farmers with the knowledge and skills for continued productivity and self-reliance.”

The Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs are the centrepiece of the Commonwealth’s $86 million Future Drought Fund Research and Adoption Program, which in turn is funded by the government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund.

The remaining five hubs will be located in Southern NSW, Far North Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and the Top End.

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