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Drought resilience leadership development underway in the Northern Wheatbelt

16 February 2022

Farmers and people working in agriculture and natural resource management, including local business owners, communication managers, volunteers and a teacher are amongst 38 people from the Northern Wheatbelt who today commenced the Drought Resilience Leaders Development Program. The Program is an initiative of the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and designed to strengthen the future of regional communities through capacity building and collaboration. 

From Geraldton to York, Dandaragan to Bruce Rock and more, the 31 women and seven men participating in the Northern Wheatbelt region of the Drought Resilience Leaders Development Program, have come together in Dongara to focus on leadership, networks, resilience. 

Congratulating the Northern Wheatbelt participants who put their hand up to take part in this unique opportunity, ARLF Chief Executive Matt Linnegar said, “The Drought Resilience Leaders Development Program is bringing together a group of dedicated locals who are passionate about building resilience in their region. Our Northern Wheatbelt cohort are diverse and come from a range of industries and backgrounds.”  

Northern Wheatbelt is one of 12 regions around Australia selected to participate in the Drought Resilience Leaders Development Program. The program is currently underway In Victoria’s Goulburn Valley and participants in Central West Queensland have been the first to complete this Program. 

The Program will be delivered over eight and a half days and focus on topics including adaptive leadership, change theory, personal and community resilience, climate science, problem solving, mental and physical wellbeing, scenario planning, influence and network leadership. For the second session, participants will meet again online and then for the final development session in Mukinbudin in March 2022. 

Mokine resident and Program participant Georgia Trainor, who is a Territory Manager for InterGrain, said the program will help her better support the customers and community members who are impacted by a range of environmental conditions. 

“In my role, I deal with a lot of growers who have varying experiences throughout the season and whilst I’m happy to be there to celebrate with them during the good times, I see the Drought Resilience Leaders Development Program as an opportunity for me to enhance how I could help people when Mother Nature throws another curve ball,” said Georgia. 

“The growers I meet already have an element of resilience because they have faced droughts, but it doesn’t make the experience easier. I look forward to putting into practice the insights and additional leadership skills gained from working with the other participants, so that my community, customers and the Northern Wheatbelt rural industries can continue to better manage future challenges and bounce back even stronger.”    

After completing the development program, participants have the opportunity give back to their communities with a grant program designed to help share the knowledge they have gained. 

“One of the benefits of undertaking this program is participants can support resilience action Northern Wheatbelt through Community Extension Grants. Participants will have the opportunity to apply for a $4,000 grant each.” Mr Linnegar added. They can also buddy up with a few others and combine those resources to deliver a joint project. 

About the program

The Australian Government established the Future Drought Fund to provide a sustainable source of funding to help Australian farmers and communities prepare for and respond to the impacts of drought. As one of its foundation programs, the Future Drought Fund has invested $11 million in the Drought Resilience Leaders Development Program. Led by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) in collaboration with consortium of partners, the Program gives farmers and regional communities the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge, mindset and networks to lead their communities into the future in 12 focus regions across Australia. In parallel, ARLF is running a national mentoring program to foster knowledge sharing and build future drought resilience.  

Find out more.

Media Contact: 

For any interview requests with Matt Linnegar, participants or queries related to the program, please contact Sonia Morris (Seftons) at sonia.morris@seftons.com.au or on 0421 672 162.