Innovation node delivering for Central West

Longreach Node manager Ally Murray (left) with Hub manager Leia Grimsey, RAPAD chair Tony Rayner, RAPAD CEO David Arnold and Hub director Professor John McVeigh at the official launch of the already very active node of the SQNNSW Innovation Hub, hosted from the RAPAD Longreach office. PHOTO: RAPAD.

The SQNNSW Innovation Hub launched its Longreach Node this week, with runs already on the scoreboard for the Longreach region.

SQNNSW Innovation Hub director Professor John McVeigh said the Node – hosted by the Central West Remote Area Planning & Development Board (RAPAD) – was already supporting important local projects.

“The Hub is working with local pastoralists at a Longreach area station to showcase technologies and techniques to improve rangeland management,” Professor McVeigh said.

“This local rehydration project started as the brainchild of a group of attendees at the Future Drought Fund-funded rural leadership course in the Central West, showcasing how alternative management systems could be successfully applied in semi-arid to arid zones.

“The ongoing project will build on the recent RAPAD and SQNNSW Innovation Hub-supported Regenerative Rangelands conference and field day.

“It will include more workshops and bring researchers and local pastoralists together to build drought resilient landscapes in the rangelands.”

The Longreach Node officially launched on 24 May, with an event at The Branch Café, Eagle Street, Longreach.

SQNNSW Innovation Hub Longreach node manager Ally Murray has been active in the region’s community since late 2021, based at the RAPAD office at 100 Galah Street, Longreach.

“The people in the Central West are innovative and adaptive and I am privileged to be able to help build collaboration to further strengthen our region’s industries and communities,” she said.

Professor McVeigh said the Hub’s goal was to help producers and their communities grow in resilience and their capacity to manage climate variability.

He said it brought together those already working on drought resilience, agricultural innovation and wellbeing.

The University of Southern Queensland-led SQNNSW Innovation Hub is one of eight nationally and part of the multi-billion dollar Future Drought Fund.

The Australian Government is investing $10 million in the Hub over four years, with more than $10 million in contributions from hub members and network partners, including RAPAD.