Minnipa to play a part in plan for drought resilience

BUILDING A FUTURE: The SA Drought Hub will fund research into building resilience to drought in regional areas, with Minnipa to be part of the project. Photo: University of Adelaide
BUILDING A FUTURE: The SA Drought Hub will fund research into building resilience to drought in regional areas, with Minnipa to be part of the project. Photo: University of Adelaide

Minnipa will be key in helping to build South Australia's resilience to drought as part of a joint project by the University of Adelaide and state government.

The $8-million South Australian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub will be established in Adelaide with five nodes at Minnipa, Port Augusta, Orroroo, Loxton and Struan.

The nodes, located in pastoral, low, medium and high rainfall zones, are expected to increase the adoption of drought resilience practices.

The SA Drought Hub is one of eight hubs to be established around Australia.

The hubs will bring together research and expertise to facilitate effective testing and scaling-up of new solutions into commercialisation.

The SA Drought Hub will receive $8m of funding over four years from the federal government's Future Drought Fund, with an additional $11.47m of cash and in-kind support from the hub's partners.

In 2020 around 70 per cent of the state and more than 4500 farming properties were affected by drought.

Australian farmers face a wide range of risks, but they are particularly exposed to variability in climate.

Primary Industries Minister David Basham said the Drought Hub would bring together research and expertise to help increase drought resilience and preparedness for South Australian farmers.

"Significant parts of South Australia have suffered through drought in recent years and setting up the Drought Hub is an important step in helping our farmers be as prepared as possible for future dry conditions," he said.

"Our primary producers are the backbone of the state's economy and when drought hits there is a ripple effect that impacts individual farmers, families and regional communities.

"The Hub concept is a great example of collaboration between government, industry and research and education sectors to help improve drought resilience across the state."

Mr Basham said the Drought Hub would provide outcomes that supported South Australia's primary producers and the regional communities that depended on them.

"It will link all industry sectors from grains, crops and livestock, to horticulture and viticulture, to provide broad resilience and innovation support across the state," he said.

University of Adelaide Lecturer Dr Rhiannon Schilling said there had been significant interest in the hub, which will be comprised of 59 grower groups, the three SA-based universities, and numerous stakeholders.

"The partners provide an extensive regional coverage of the state and bring together a diverse range of skillsets, perspectives and resources," she said.

Dr Schilling said the initial focus was to co-design and deliver demand-driven activities across the nodes.

"This will demonstrate and increase adoption of drought resilience practices, implement socially resilient and wellbeing strategies and leverage future investments for drought innovation and adoption initiatives," she said.

"The nodes will be driven from the ground-up with drought resilience priorities established for each node based on input from regional partners."