Newsletter #10: December 2022

What a year the TNQ Hub has had! 2022 saw the Hub fully operationalized, actively collaborating with our community, industries and stakeholders and most importantly taking big steps towards implementing our Program activities. You can learn more about our Programs, their Leads, goals and activities here and see some highlights below.

One of our biggest achievements of the year is bringing together and building relationship between a wide range of stakeholders who have not had the chance to collaborate before. We have connected grower groups with researchers, producers with innovation experts and academics with NRM groups. We are working with the other Drought Resilience and Adoption Hub’s across Australia on joint drought resilience initiatives that include rangeland mapping, long-term demonstration sites for the northern beef industry, and combined grant applications to name a few. We are also working with several Bureau of Meteorology services and other climate modeling systems to ensure they are working together and answering key questions for our region.

Another highlight of the year was our TNQ Hub Forum held the other week in Townsville. The purpose of the workshop was to bring the extended TNQ Hub team together and to learn about effective collaboration and work on Program activities and their implementation throughout our region. These kinds of gatherings are incredibly important to ensure there is a clear understanding of team members projects, activities and roles and to build cohesion across multiple organizations. Read more about the Forum in our Hub Highlight.

2023 will be a year of impact as our Program activities will be in full force and trials will be implemented across our region. We look forward to building on our existing relationships, forming new ones and most importantly supporting the Tropical North Queensland producers, farmers, graziers, growers and their communities to prepare for future drought.

I wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday.

Merry Christmas,

David Phelps, Director

P.S The TNQ Hub is enjoying a short break over the festive season and our office well be closed from Monday 26th December 2022 until Monday 9th of January 2023.

TNQ Drought Hub Director, David Phelps

2022 TNQ Hub Program Highlights

Hub Highlight

The TNQ Hub recently held a capacity building forum for team members, Program Leads, Adoption Officers and Drought Resilience Coordinators (DRC). The two-day event held in late November saw over 30 participants learn from climate, extension and health industry experts. Success of the forum was built off engaging in facilitated collaborative discussions to understand the required next steps for implementing Program activities. The forum strengthened existing relationships, formed new ones and highlighted the synergies between the activities underway and planned.

The forum has already created opportunities with further linkages between Reef Catchments and the Transformational Agriculture Systems Program, a NQ Dry Tropics led Future Drought Fund grant, engagement requests to discuss the impacts of drought on mental health and a planned future workshop between the different climate program presenters to ensure land managers and industry are getting the information required to make future focused business decisions.

Having just joined the hub, the forum was a fantastic opportunity to meet everyone involved and establish linkages. I really enjoyed the group facilitation training – it was great to learn new methods to foster dialogue and collaboration. I’m looking forward to working with the team over the coming months to identify key challenges and opportunities related to knowledge and technology adoption in the region and using those findings to develop and implement relevant strategies.” Carrie-Ann Wilson, Knowledge Adoption Officer.

Read more about the forum.

Image: TNQ Hub staff participating in an idea generating activity.

Know someone who wants to be involved?

What’s Next?

Check out our Events calendar to see what’s happing in the agricultural industry around Tropical North Queensland and throughout the country. Some upcoming events to keep an eye out on are;

Capturing Expert Knowledge, 15-17 November

As part of her program, Building Human Capacity Program Lead, Jane Oorschot recently spend time with some well-known industry experts to capture their career highlights and advice for future experts. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Principal Extension Officer Bob Sheppard, who is about to retire after 35 years working with graziers across North Queensland and Roger Stone, a professor in climate science with over 35 years of experience in climate modelling and forecasting for the agricultural sector were both interviewed and will have their stories and advice turned into resources that land managers and industry can refer to.

Image: Courtesy of Coordinator Emily Harrington, Filming industry experts at Fletcherview Research Station.

Indigenous Food & Business Expo, 16 November

The TNQ Hub was pleased to support the Indigenous Food and Business Expo in Cairns on November 16th. The expo showcased over 50 First Nations owned businesses selling artwork, food and drinks, handmade jewelry and clothing. Following the Expo, an Indigenous Food Gathering brought together more than 30 stakeholders from the Indigenous Food Industry to have a round table discussion regarding the challenges and opportunities facing First Nations Foods. The Sustainable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Enterprise program is supporting events like this to help accelerate business opportunities and build resilience in indigenous businesses.

Image: Courtesy of Y(E)P Cairns, Art of Melanie Hava showcasing a diverse array of indigenous inspired creations.

Reef Catchments Healthy Soils Symposium, 22-24 November

Reef Catchments recently held their 11th Annual Healthy Soils Symposium. The three-day event saw Regional Soils Coordinator Dhiraj Gajera attend two property walks to see examples of how different land management decisions such as planting alternative crops, can help overcome issues such as erosion and soil health. Attendees were encouraged to discuss management practices, drought concerns and soils remediation in break out groups. Reef Catchments Senior Project Officer and local Drought Resilience Coordinator Carlos Bueno and Dhiraj both had the opportunity to present to attendees about the TNQ Hub’s Program activities.

Image: Courtesy of Regional Soils Coordinator Dhiraj Gajera, Dhiraj presenting to attendees

Engineers Without Borders Challenge, 9-10 December

The Cairns Institute and the TNQ Hub played host to the Engineers without Borders (EWB) Challenge Showcase last week. EWB Challenge design brief is developed based on a set of sustainable development projects identified by EWB Australia with a community-based partner organisation. The 2022 ‘EWB Challenge Showcase’ event community-based partner organisation was the Dawul Wuru Aboriginal Corporation.

The EWB Challenge invited the top student teams from 23 participating universities across Australia and New Zealand to share their innovative design ideas back to EWB and Dawul Wuru, which aim to enable Yirrganydji people to sustain wellbeing, culture and care for their rainforest and coastal land and sea Country between Cairns and Port Douglas, for the benefit of current and future generations.

On Country issues were identified by the Dawul Wuru and sent to 11,000 Engineering students to submit solutions. Of the 11,000 the top 35 students consisting of 13 teams were selected to showcase their engineering solutions in Cairns. There were many innovative solutions showcased that identified solutions to issues experiences by Rangers including renewable power solutions, cultural awareness and knowledge apps and building portable rangers stations.

Image: Courtesy of SATSIE Program Coordinator Jen McHugh, EWB presenting to students 

Apply Now! Grants and Programs

It must be grant writing time again so here’s a few that are open now.  The TNQ Hub can provide Letters of Support (LoS) to assist with your application. Please email details of your application and how it applies to future drought resilience to and we will supply a LoS if applicable.

  • The Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund (FDF) is launching a new grants program – the Long-term Trials of Drought Resilient Farming Practices Grants Program, opening January 2023. Long-term Trials is a $40 million program that will provide funding until 2027-28 to investigate innovative and transformational farming practices that support farmers to become more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought by maintaining and improving farm productivity, profitability and sustainability.  Preliminary information is available via the Community Grants Hub.
  • The Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund is looking for eligible entities to work with farmers to drive large-scale adoption of proven and existing practices and technologies that improve drought resilience and agricultural productivity. Applications are open for Extension and Adoption of Drought Resilience Farming Practices Grants with between $100,000 and $3 million (GST exclusive) available per application. Successfully funded projects must offer extension and adoption activities and be completed in 24 months (between June 2023 and June 2025). Applications close 9 January 2023 at 9pm (AEDT). Find out more.
  • The Rural Economic Development (RED) Grants offer up to $200,000 as a co-contribution grant to fund projects which provide unique opportunities to generate economic and employment opportunities related to primary production value chains across rural and remote Queensland. Round five expressions of interest (EOI) opened on 9 November 2022 and will close on 30 January 2023. QRIDA is leading a competitive selection process for the grants, with successful EOI applicants invited to submit a full application. Find out more.

Are you looking for funding to enable your idea to become a reality? Visit the following Regional Development Australia initiative to find grants available in the TNQ Drought Hub region.

TNQ Hub has worked with our NRM Node and industry partners to develop regional priorities. These are a useful resource in writing grant applications. 

Fletcherview Research Station

TNQ Drought Hub Nodes


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