The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
22 June 2004
The Australian Government will provide $1.6 million over the next two years to help farmers and graziers better manage climate risks, Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss, and Environment Minister, David Kemp, announced today.
The Ministers said $1 million of the new funding would come from the Howard/Anderson Government's Natural Heritage Trust to build on $5.5 million allocated by the Coalition to the landmark Managing Climate Variability Program since 1997.
"The main priority for the Managing Climate Variability Program is increasing profitability and sustainability by better managing the on-farm impact of climate variability and improving the quality of long-term, seasonal forecasts," Mr Truss said.
"Industry, government and scientists are working together to help our farmers and resource managers better understand and respond to the agricultural and environmental challenges arising from climate variability."
Land and Water Australia runs the Managing Climate Variability Program in partnership with the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and the Grains, Sugar, Meat and Livestock, Dairy, Wool and Rural Industries R&D Corporations.
The remaining amount - $600,000 - will back a new project, Climate Risk Management for the Agriculture Sector , to be coordinated by the Bureau of Rural Sciences.
Dr Kemp said the Climate Risk Management for the Agriculture Sector project will be run by the Bureau of Rural Sciences in partnership with the CSIRO Centre for Earth Observation and the Bureau of Meteorology.
"It will help farmers better prepare to take advantage of the good seasons while also avoiding climate-related degradation of their natural resource base," Dr Kemp said. "For example, a wheat grower with advance warning of a dry season could decide to sow only their best paddocks thereby protecting their soil and saving money.
"Today's funding builds on more than a decade of groundbreaking work on applied climate-based science for Australian agriculture. One of the outcomes of this work is the development and distribution of 3000 free copies of the popular Rainman Streamflow software package to help farmers predict the availability of irrigation water."
Mr Truss said given that many areas of the country are still grappling with serious drought, there is a clear opportunity for both projects to incorporate the lessons learned over the past few years.
"The new projects are also in line with the findings of the National Drought Roundtable in Canberra in April, which stressed the importance of farmer self-reliance and risk management strategies in tackling drought," Mr Truss said.
"It is vital, therefore, that the Government provides assistance for the support and management tools our farmers need to better prepare for future climatic events."
For further information, visit www.managingclimate.gov.au.