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Update on the Regional Drought Resilience Planning program, a key program under the Australian Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund
As Queensland flood recovery continues, more than 60 per cent of the state remains drought-declared, making drought resilience planning as important as ever.
The next stage of planning is underway by the Rural Economies Centre of Excellence (RECoE), an economic research collaboration of four universities including the University of Southern Queensland, University of Queensland, James Cook University and Central Queensland University.
RECoE Chair Professor John McVeigh, who is also Executive Director of University of Southern Queensland’s Institute for Resilient Regions, said the centre had made impressive progress in the Regional Drought Resilience Planning (RDRP) program as part of Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.
“With so many communities impacted by recent flood events, it may seem like a difficult time to discuss drought,” Professor McVeigh said.
“We’re seeing people continue to engage in drought resilience planning, knowing that the reprieve is often short-lived.
“Enhancing resilience to the impacts of drought is fundamental for many of our regional and rural economies.”
RECoE was appointed by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to lead the state’s rollout of drought resilience planning in five pilot regions as part of the Commonwealth Government’s foundational year for the RDRP program.
The program was announced by Federal Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud and Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner late last year.
Examining Innovative Policies to Sustain Environmental Offsets in Rural Communities: An Analysis of Granite Belt Wine Growers
The purpose of this report is to identify and map the supply chain models that exist in the Qld Sheep and goat meat industry. This will provide a base to develop information and feedback to government and industry to address identified problems and prospects. The underlying aim of this research and subsequent policy advice is to help producers within the industry increase their financial returns and contribute to economic growth in sheep and goat producing communities.
To map and classify the supply chain, interviews were conducted with a number of intermediaries. This allowed the structure of sheep and goat meat supply chains to be assessed in the context of networks, key attributes and critical linkage points. The questions were centred around mapping the supply chain structure and processes. The supply chain questions were conducted using different thematic foci on where value is added, key aspects of the links that make them flexible or rigid, and limitations or opportunities in the supply chain.
Animal management and production was recognised as an integral part of the supply chain.The impact of wild dogs was noted as an issue particularly in southern Queensland, from Warwick through to the western corner. It was noted that the management of breeds and capacity to access improved genetics both for sheep and goat meat would be key to the meat industries’ expansion in Queensland. These genetic improvements may focus on the meat quality and taste, along with animal production traits and characteristics. It wsa also identified that was a critical shortage of expertise regarding animal health, nutrition and management.. The technical support accessed for some of the producers was in Western Australia, which was extremely limiting to the growth of the Qld industry. Goat meat may achieve this once goats are removed from the Biosecurity Act, and sustainable management program is developed.
Sheep and goat meat was identified as having a relatively short-supply chain, particularly in Outback Qld, providing increased food security. However, cold chain logistics are still required to maintain the food network and support the expansion of market access for a number of intermediaries in the supply chain. The road network is critical to this in ensuring all weather access. Employment was identified as a key issue across the supply chain and this, in conjunction with very low margins for some intermediaries, resulted in very fragile supply chains. Informal networks were currently fostering the development of new markets and supporting the viability of a number of players in the supply chain.
Digital connectivity and capability are essential for regional economic development in the 21st century. Key sectors such as agriculture, resources, energy, tourism, and health are undergoing dramatic transformation globally, and there are enormous opportunities for Queensland and Australia to leverage telecommunications and the internet to increase productivity, diversify industries, and access global markets. Never has digital connectivity been so important in improving livability and maintaining people and workforces in regional and rural communities.
The Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) (PO) industry was established in Tasmania and South Australia in the 1950/60s and has significantly increased in its production volume over time. Yet, there is limited information available about the distribution network of POs as well as potential constraints and prospects for the market supply and how the supply chain of POs compares to other oyster products.
Hence, the aims of this report are to a) to describe the PO supply and value chain, b) to identify potential supply chain issues and opportunities, and c) to compare it to other oyster distribution networks (e.g., the Sydney rock oyster (Saccostrea glometata) (SRO)). The comparison of oyster supply chain networks in Australia will help understand the differences in distribution networks and potential reasons for that.
Authors: Peggy Schrobback*, Steven Rust^,
Sarah Ugalde^, and John Rolfe*
*Central Queensland University, School of Business and Law
^University of Tasmania, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
The black-lip oyster (BLO) has been identified as a tropical edible oyster species that could be cultivated on a commercial basis in Northern Australia (Queensland, Northern Territory, and Western Australia). This industry could generate employment, production diversification and economic growth for communities living in northern rural coastal regions of Australia. However, to
develop this industry a better understanding about the potential supply chain for this shellfish product is required. Since Australia produces several other oyster species on a commercial basis, information from the oyster supply chains of these industries can be useful in guiding the development of a supply network BLOs.
Central Western Queensland Digital Connectivity Project: Assessment of the Social and
Economic Impacts of Digital Connection in Remote Communities
Covid-19 may be truly the wind that blows no good for any of Australia’s regions. Apart from the loss of human life and adverse health and social impacts, all regions have negative economic consequences. The speed and depth of the impacts, and the ongoing government responses to them, are unprecedented. Yet the impacts and outlooks vary across regions, as I discuss here with particular reference to the Queensland economy.
The economic impacts are occurring through several forces, including:
• Direct effects of government controls, which are limiting business operations
• Reductions in customer demand
• Flow-on effects through the economy.
There are some sectors most affected by these pressures:
• The direct effects of government controls are particularly impacting on Tourism, Hospitality, Arts & Entertainment, and Personal Services sectors. These are sectors requiring substantial travel and interpersonal contact, often involving small businesses.
• Reductions in customer demand are immediately impacting on Hospitality, Arts & Entertainment, Personal Services, and most Retail sectors. There are some increases in demand for supermarkets and liquor stores.
• Flow on effects into other sectors of the economy are beginning. For example, some health services are impacted by both shortages in supplies and reductions in demand, while reduced mobility and reductions in spending are reducing activity across the retail and services sectors.
• There are also some impacts on supply chains across all major sectors. However, most businesses are adapting to shortages in inputs rather than being forced to close.
Rural economies policy research team have published a working paper on the rural and regional work force. This paper finds that workforce issues in rural Queensland pose a complex societal problem, with significant strategic policy and program implications. Four key policy focus areas for action emerge, including regional workforce and skills shortages; workforce education and training; disruption and new workforce models for transitioning economies; and policy and program coordination. Vibrant and prosperous regional communities rely on industries that can meet their workforce needs and citizens that can find and retain employment and remain in the regions. It is argued that “that all places can grow when policy making is attuned to spatial particularities” (Pugalis & Gray 2016:181). The challenge for policymakers is how to ensure that workforce needs are identified at the local level and those policy innovations in education and training, workforce supply and workforce planning can meet the needs of rural Queensland industries and communities.
Authors: Hurriyet Babacan, Allan Dale & Jennifer McHugh (JCU/The Cairns Institute)
Internet connectivity is essential for prosperity and development in all societies. This policy‐focussed report is the culmination of a qualitative study of digital connectivity and telecommunications in rural Far North Queensland (FNQ). In particular, the research investigated the lived experience of digital inclusion – a combination of internet access, affordability of technology, and digital ability ‐ in agricultural households and communities the northern Gulf region. The Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) shows that North West Queensland (which takes in the Gulf Savannah) is one of Australia’s least digitally included regions.
The ADII further suggests that farmers and farm managers tend to score more poorly in the Index than others in comparable circumstances, particularly on the digital ability sub‐index. This research aimed to unpack how these quantitative insights ‘play out’ in the context of rural FNQ, thereby shedding light on the nuanced and context‐specific factors that impact digital participation of farming households and communities.
Report Authors: Dr Amber Marshall (JCU/QUT) | Prof Allan Dale (JCU)| Prof Hurriyet Babacan (JCU)|Michael Dezuanni (QUT)
Innovation ecosystems add value to economic and community development in a region. Innovation hubs can play a critical role in these ecosystems by providing centralised access to networks, capital, technology, community and social support.
The Goondiwindi region is exploring implementation of a local innovation hub that will leverage the local strengths of the agricultural sector. This report follows a structured approach to assessing the feasibility of an innovation hub and developing an actionable business case and plan.
Project Researchers: Mr Chad Renando (USQ); Assoc. Professor Ben Lyons (USQ)
This paper explores the influences, challenges, opportunities and approaches to rural economic development in Queensland. It focuses on economic development and diversification centred on agricultural food and fibre value chain development and related regional industries. The paper describes the current situation of Queensland’s rural economy and the factors that are influencing it. It outlines the characteristics of a vibrant rural economy and summarises current and emerging rural economic development issues, initiatives and policies. The paper has been developed to provide information that forms the basis for the development of research, practice and policy priorities for the Rural Economies Centre Queensland
Professor Allan Dale, The Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Cairns; Professor John Rolfe, CQUniversity, Rockhampton; Professor John Cole & Professor Jim Cavaye, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba - 2018
Rural economic development is a complex process and the breadth of issues confronting policy makers, both contextual and conceptual, need consideration. This paper provides an initial exploratory analysis and overview of key issues in economic policy making of relevance to rural and regional areas, highlighting the key issues that have emerged from scholars and practitioners. The purpose of the paper is to present the landscape of factors and issues relevant to policy making and to enable effective conceptualization of rural/regional economic policy development within a larger contextual framework. This exploratory paper will unpack key issues influencing rural/regional governance, policy formulation, adoption and implementation.
Authors: Professor Hurriyet Babacan, Professor Allan Dale, The Cairns Institute, James Cook University