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Published: 14 Jul 2021

Tasmania’s Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub was introduced to the country at the end of June, when its vision was presented to hundreds of participants during The Future Drought Fund’s first annual Science to Practice Forum.

Held over three days from June 29-July 1, the online forum saw Tasmania’s hub present its strategic direction and planned work involving multiple partners to address issues over the next three years and beyond .

The partners in the hub represent farmers, land managers, water managers, rural business professionals, entrepreneurs, and various industry and community developers who operate in Tasmania and/or nationally and internationally.

The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture’s (TIA) Associate Professor Kathy Evans, who is directing the operations of the Hub, welcomed the opportunity to present Tasmania’s unique perspective, alongside the new hubs – eight in total - based around the country.

“Droughts occur in Tasmania in different places at different times; however, when they occur the impact on farmers and their communities can be severe,” Associate Professor Kathy Evans said.

“With below-average rainfall conditions and above-average temperatures no longer the exception, Tasmania’s farmers and rural communities need to be prepared and adapt to the changing conditions ahead.”

In 2020, Tasmania recorded the driest November since 2007, and the ninth driest November on record for the state.

“Our hub will enable drought preparedness in Tasmania through collective actions that sustain Tasmania’s high-value, clean, green international brand,” Associate Professor Evans said.

The Australian Government is investing in innovation as a central strategy to help Australian agriculture become more resilient to future droughts.

TIA led the University of Tasmania bid to secure $8 million in funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund. The creation of the hub is also supported by matching partner co-contributions, including more than $1 million in funding and different types of expertise from the University of Tasmania’s four colleges.

The hub will build the capabilities of farmers and rural communities to better prepare for drought by bringing together researchers, farmers, industry, natural resource managers and traditional owners to co-design relevant and innovative solutions.

“As hot and dry years increase in number, a multi-stakeholder partnership is needed to innovate for drought resilience, optimal water management and self-reliance,” Associate Professor Evans said.

“The Tasmanian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, for the first time, brings together the major players - farmers, land and water managers, researchers, and Tasmanian Aboriginal people - who, together can reduce the risks associated with drought in Tasmania.”

The Tasmanian Hub’s forum address also included presentations from Indigenous Facilitator Rob Anders; Bec Harris, Climate Futures, and lecturer Saideepa Kumar, Water Governance.