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Regional focus for $20 million drought hub

Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson is thrilled to announce an $8 million grant has been approved through the Morrison Government’s Future Drought Fund to establish a Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub in O’Connor.

“The hub will be an essential part of the government’s proactive response to help farmers and communities to become better prepared for future droughts,” Mr Wilson said.

The hub is one of eight to be located in regional areas that reflect the major climatic and agricultural zones across Australia.

The Hub for the region of South West WA will be run by a consortium led by the Grower Group Alliance (GGA), based in South Perth, that will be awarded $8 million over four years, with $12 million of co-investment being contributed by the Hub partners.

The GGA Hub will have eight nodes, including four in O’Connor – Albany, Esperance, Katanning and Manjimup.

“I expect each Hub will have a regional focus that brings together researchers, farmers, agribusinesses and communities to address local drought resilience challenges and opportunities, while also being connected to national priorities and advances,” Mr Wilson said.

The Grower Group Alliance is a farmer-driven network of grower groups working to build the capacity of its members and connected groups, research organisations and agribusinesses in WA.

“Hub members will share research and knowledge across their region, work on co-design projects to identify innovative practice, commercialise innovations and deliver practical on-ground action,” Mr Wilson said.

“Agricultural research is critical in increasing the productivity of our agriculture sector and must be both useful and accessible to our farmers and regional communities.

“That is why the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda is focused on strengthening our regions, increasing uptake of innovation, and establishing a culture of collaboration and entrepreneurship across our agricultural innovation system. The Hubs are an important initiative that will help achieve these objectives.”

The Hubs are an essential part of the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, and are the centrepiece of the $86 million Drought Resilience Research and Adoption Program, which will help farmers and communities use innovation to become better prepared for future droughts.

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MEET RICK

I was inspired to run for Parliament following my involvement in a decade-long campaign to deregulate the wheat industry, which brought about the end of the Australian Wheat Board’s monopoly.

“I stand proudly for the Liberal philosophy of free markets, vigorous competition, small government and individual responsibility. These are the principles that guide me in my life and in this place. My track record in public life shows clearly that I am prepared to stand up for those principles.”

“To the electors of O'Connor, I reiterate the commitment that I have made to work tirelessly on your behalf, to always be frank and honest about the challenges we face, and to work cooperatively and collaboratively to improve the lives of the people who live in the greatest part of the greatest nation on earth”

– Rick Wilson MP Maiden Speech.