New Agriculture Minister says Labour’s drought policy an ‘evolution’

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-05/drought-policy-agriculture-minister-murray-watt-landline/101124942

The new Federal Minister for Agriculture is reviewing the former government’s approach to addressing drought. This could have implications for the current form of the Future Drought Fund Programs that commenced last year.  However, the focus will remain on developing plans before droughts hit: “It’s widely agreed that the worst time to try and develop a clear-eyed drought policy is during the natural disaster.”

The new Labor government has also highlighted their plans for rural and regional Australia:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/may/29/what-will-the-new-labor-government-do-for-rural-and-regional-australia

Reef Water Quality Report Card 2020 released

The Reef Water Quality Report Card 2020 was just released by the DAF Queensland Reef Water Quality Program and details progress towards the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan targets up to June 2020. The report card outlines results from the Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program. Overall, the results show continued progress towards the water quality targets. The report card can be access online at https://reportcard.reefplan.qld.gov.au/

Successful 2022 APEN Conference

The 2022 APEN Conference was successfully held online over the 9-11 February 2022 – with the theme of ‘Facilitating Change and the Opportunity from Disruption’. Over three exciting days, conference attendees had the choice of attending one of 3 masterclasses, a welcome function including an online trivia event, networking breakout sessions, 6 keynote speakers, APEN awards ceremony hosted by Libby Price followed by dinner speaker Tangaroa Walker, 86 presentation and poster sessions and finally finishing with a fun and interactive closing session. The Masterclasses were attended by 68 people in total and the conference attracted a total of 282 delegates supported by 26 incredible sponsors that enabled this conference to be the success that it was. More information on the conference can be found on the website: https://www.apenconference.com.au/

Future Drought Fund

The Australian Government recently announced the foundational programs for its $5 billion Future Drought Fund with eight programs starting to roll out from July 2020.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said in the press release that “The programs have been developed based on expert advice from the independent Consultative Committee, led by Mr Brent Finlay, a fourth generation farmer, as well as valuable input from communities and industry during last year’s national public consultation tour on the Drought Resilience Funding Plan.”

Coutts J&R has been working on programs and projects in the climate adaptation space for a number of years and see the need for funding such as this. It will be interesting to see the projects and initiatives eventuating from this and their future impact on the communities and agricultural industries they are intending to support.

Effective monitoring, evaluation and learning will be vitally important for funded projects to prove the value of the Australian Government’s investment and its impact on rural Australia.

Further information about the Future Drought Fund and its programs can be found on the Drought Fund website.