Regional workshops to teach drought resilience

Countryman
A dried up dam near Ravensthorpe.
Camera IconA dried up dam near Ravensthorpe. Credit: Zach Relph

Northern Wheatbelt and Gascoyne-Murchison residents have the chance to learn how to become a “drought resilience leader” by attending a series of free workshops.

The workshops are part of the Federal Government’s Drought Resilience Leaders Development Program, which aims to establish a network of rural Australians equipped to adapt and prepare for the future impacts of drought.

The program will consist of three sessions run over eight days in March and April next year in 12 regions across Australia.

Leading the program in WA is agribusiness guru Elizabeth Brennan, who said participants would benefit in various ways.

“We often look to honing business skills and how we might be able to manage risk in a changing environment, but we don’t often stop to invest in ourselves and our personal resilience,” she said.

“The program will bring together people from small communities with big ideas, invest in their leadership capacity and support them to build resilient communities — come rain, hail or shine.”

Ms Brennan said she helped facilitate a similar program in the South West last year and was “amazed” with the ideas and projects participants put forward.

Elizabeth Brennan.
Camera IconElizabeth Brennan. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

“What’s great about this program is that seed funding is available via the Community Extension Grants, and this will help get these grassroots ideas off the ground,” she said.

Participants will be eligible to apply for a Community Extension Grant after completing the sessions.

The program is being funded via the Federal Government’s Future Drought Fund and delivered by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF).

It is already under way in the Goulburn Valley region, with participants from central-west Queensland about to start their first leadership development session.

“The effects of drought can last for years and Australians who live and work in drought impacted communities are the best people to help contribute to how we can strengthen our communities, so that we can be even more prepared for the next drought,” ARLF chief executive Matt Linnegar said.

“Experiencing drought and how resilience is established in our regions differs for many of us; however, the program will help to create leadership networks committed to further strengthening these agriculture-dependent communities.”

Applications are open to anyone 18 and over until December 5.

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