2022-2023 TNQ Hub Priorities

The TNQ Hub has developed the following priorities to help guide investment into the key challenges and opportunities for agricultural businesses, their towns and communities and regions within Tropical North Queensland to build drought resilience and preparedness.

Priority Development

The TNQ Hub provides services, knowledge, products and tools which enhance drought resilience and preparedness for agricultural businesses, their towns and communities, and regions within Tropical North Queensland.

The priorities are influenced by the size of the agricultural industries in Tropical North Queensland, their exposure to drought (historic and projected), economic contribution and proportion of land use. 

Whilst the size (economic or land use) of an industry is important, other considerations include the potential for agriculture to contribute to social outcomes and prior investment into drought related research, development, extension, adoption and commercialisation (RDEA&C).

Right: The TNQ Hub geographic footprint is defined by six NRM groups which are foundation Members of the Hub.


The major agricultural industries within the TNQ Hub region are extensive grazing of livestock (beef cattle, wool and meat sheep, and meat goats), sugar cane, cropping, horticulture Agricultural production is valued at approximately $7.3 billion per year.

Not all agriculture is practiced in all regions within the TNQ Hub. Grazing of livestock, predominantly beef cattle on native pastures, is the most widespread land use and occurs in each of the Hub NRM regions. Sugar cane, cropping and horticulture are more concentrated along the eastern portions, with areas of expansion into the gulf. 

Right: Contribution of agriculture to Gross Value of Production (GVP) within the TNQ Hub geographic area. Click here to view Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Data Farm.

The TNQ Hub region industries

Livestock: largest GVP and land use footprint

  • Declining land condition, low beef cattle reproductive rates, drought grazing management, low cash flow during drought
  • High reliance on rainfall for fodder supply, supplemented by crop-derived inputs
  • High probability of increasing rainfall variability
  • Many small regional towns and communities reliant on beef GVP

Sugar cane: large GVP, small land use footprint

  • Irrigation efficiency and water security, soil management
  • High probability of increasing drought frequency and duration
  • Many eastern towns and communities reliant on cane GVP

Cropping: modest but increasing GVP and land use footprint

  • Water use efficiency (dryland production), crop suitability, soil management
  • High probability of increasing drought frequency and duration

Horticulture: modest but increasing GVP, small land use footprint

  • Water use efficiency (dryland production), irrigation efficiency and water security, crop suitability, soil management
  • High probability of increasing drought frequency and duration


Click on the + to view the priorities identified via theme. Click here to download the detailed priority list.  

  • Identifying and addressing risks of increased evaporation, reduced rainfall, or greater rainfall variability to water storage
  • Identifying and addressing risks of increased frequency of drought-related heatwaves to agricultural production
  • Adding value to existing drought knowledge, platforms, tools, and RDEA&C
  • Translating technical information for improved understanding, decision making and planning
  • Supporting enterprise level adaptation to changing drought and climate risks
  • Identifying drought management techniques in rangeland systems
  • Supporting the adoption of improved agricultural production systems and business management practices to underpin resilience to drought
  • Identifying irrigation systems and management in cropping land to optimise water use efficiency to underpin resilience to drought
  • Identifying risks and impacts of drought and climate change on water quality and runoff
  • Optimising the economic benefits from sustainable agricultural production systems
  • Identifying and supporting opportunities for economic diversification
  • Identifying and piloting innovative financial models
  • Supporting regional drought resilience planning processes
  • Enhancing land condition for drought resilience, animal production and environmental market opportunities
  • Enhancing pasture response for improved drought resilience
  • Enhancing soil health in cropping, sugarcane and horticulture production systems for improved drought resilience
  • Increasing commercial application of intellectual property, technology and technical services in drought resilience
  • Establishing new agricultural businesses, ag-tech enterprises, and engaging innovative approaches for existing regional SMEs
  • Facilitating an innovation and technology ecosystem that integrates industry problem statements, practical understanding of ag-tech solutions, and on-farm demonstration
  • Supporting solutions to enhance digital connectivity and planning to enable the rapid uptake of new technological innovations
  • Facilitating accelerated commercial innovation and technology solutions
  • Building human capacity to enhance enterprise, town and community, and regional resilience e.g. by enhancing leadership, volunteering and mental health knowledge and skills
  • Facilitating collaborative and co-design pathways which combine traditional knowledge, local knowledge, experiential learning, and scientific understanding
  • Upskilling multi-agency staff and primary producers to promote practice change
  • Upskilling research, academic and extension professionals in co-design and engagement techniques to ensure meaningful and practical outcomes
  • Building greater adaptive capacity in grazing land managers and communities to manage impacts of climate variability and change
  • Improving the understanding of behavioural barriers to uptake and trigger points for engagement
  • Supporting the translation of research into practice
  • Creating partnerships between RDEA&C providers, policy decision makers, funding opportunities and communities
  • Supporting new and existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agricultural enterprises through access to water and land, and empowered by sustainable community business networks and governance
  • Enhancing business, governance and organisational capacity and capability at enterprise, community and regional scales
  • Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ knowledge and aspirations in sustainable agribusiness and Indigenous led supply chains
  • Identifying, piloting and testing innovative financial models to develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples community enterprises
  • Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ aspirations to lead culturally appropriate regional development and RDEA&C activities
  • Contributing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identified needs

TNQ regional priorities were developed in collaboration with NRM Node Members, TNQ Hub Program Leads, industry partners and from key publications. Priorities will continue to be developed at industry and stakeholder events, through co-design and collaboration to ensure they reflect current agricultural needs.

Click here to view the aligned TNQ Hub and industry priorities.

For a full list of priorities from commonwealth and industry-owned Research and Development Corporations, visit the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. 

If you would like to submit a regional priority, please click here


Hub Contact

Rachel Hay

Knowledge Broker