Southern QLD & Northern NSW Innovation Hub

Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub: a consortium of nine regional partners including primary producers, Indigenous, industry and community groups, researchers, entrepreneurs, education institutions, resource management practitioners and government agencies.

Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales (SQNNSW) Hub

The USQ-led Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales (SQNNSW) Hub is one of eight national Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs, a flagship of the multi-billion-dollar Future Drought Fund. The Australian Government is investing $10 million in the University of Southern Queensland-led Hub over four years, with more than $10 million contribution from Hub Members and Network Partners. The collaborative venture was announced by Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management the Hon David Littleproud MP on 9 April 2021, and the Hub’s capacity to support agricultural innovation was expanded with a further funding announcement on 6 October 2021.

SQNNSW mission is to help producers and their communities grow resilience and capacity in managing climate variability through innovation, collaboration and building capacity and capability. Rural and regional Australians live the reality of a changing climate, with sometimes devastating impacts on production and profit. The question is, what do they need to not just survive, but thrive into the future?

SQNNSW Hub will support producers and their communities in growing resilience and capacity in managing climate variability through innovation, collaboration, and building capacity and capability.

The Hub is looking forward – to what the communities, landscapes and people of Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales will need to be, to adapt to a changing climate, ever-increasing agricultural innovation, and community challenges. We will:

  • be innovative, showcasing the extension and adoption of agtech, soils knowledge and practice change information
  • collaborate with service providers, business partners, producers’ groups
  • build capacity and capability with producers, communities and within the Hub itself.

Collaboration and co-operation with all of our Hub partners, particularly landholders and regional communities, are the key to achieving our objectives. The SQNNSW Innovation Hub supports innovative people, organisations, practices, and technology.

Innovation can be a new widget (or a whole new machine!), a new or adapted on-ground practice, a change in organisational direction, a collaborative plan, a fresh business approach, learning a new skill, being mentored by a peer, or simply building the “space” that allows us all to be creative. Innovation is about the people, the practices and the technology helping to create a thriving and vibrant rural and regional Australia.

There’s a wealth of research that can help agricultural industries and regional communities build resilience and innovation, and it’s the role of the Hub to make sure the best of that knowledge reaches the people who can make the best use of it.

The Hub’s current activities include:

  • supporting a Regional Soil Coordinator via funding from the Australian Government’s Building Landcare Community Capacity program
  • and via the Future Drought Fund
    • supporting additional Adoption officers across the Hub region
    • developing and maintaining co-innovation networks around each Node
    • producing decision-focussed drought management toolkits , tailored to specific industries
    • connecting regions and industries with capacity building activities and information
    • establishing four demonstration sites across Northern New South Wales, to give farmers the opportunity to experience first-hand the application of new technologies/approaches to increase drought resilience in farming systems
    • consulting with First Nations to gain cultural knowledge for environmental/ecological values for water and caring for country, and developing training packages to share and build Indigenous knowledge of drought
    • developing and delivering online wellbeing & employability toolkit(s) specifically targeted for communities impacted by drought
    • participating in the annual Future Drought Fund Science to Practice Forum
    • providing additional support for funded cross-sectoral innovative R&D projects via PhD student top-up scholarships
    • initiating innovation awards, and
    • identifying opportunities for the commercialisation of innovations designed to support improved drought resilience.

Reports & Media Releases 

Read the latest Hub news here, contact the Hub via, or find your local Node here. You can also follow the Hub on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to the SQNNSW newsletter.

SQNNSW Members and Partners

SQNNSW aim to achieve their goals to foster drought resilience and agricultural innovation by collaborating with the Hub’s 37 Members and Partners, six Nodes, First Nations, communities, and various industries. 

The SQNNSW Innovation Hub has six Node locations:

  1. Armidale (University of New England)
  2. Narrabri (NSW Local Land Services)
  3. Lismore (Southern Cross University, Farming Together and the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance),
  4. Stanthorpe (Queensland College of Wine Tourism)
  5. Roma (Southern Queensland Landscapes)
  6. Longreach (the Central West Remote Area Planning & Development Board).

Funding Acknowledgment

The  Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales (SQNNSW) Hub received funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.