Joint media release: Future Drought Fund: supporting Goulburn Valley’s future leaders

7 September 2021

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, the Hon David Littleproud MP
Member for Nicholls, the Hon Damien Drum MP


  • Australian Government is investing more than $11 million in the Future Drought Fund’s Drought Resilience Leaders program.
  • 26 future leaders in the Goulburn Valley, Victoria will participate in the program which commences today.
  • The pilot will support community members to be trained in leadership and undertake community activities that build drought resilience in the region.

Twenty-six Goulburn Valley locals stand to benefit from the first pilot under the $11 million Future Drought Fund Drought Resilience Leaders program.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the Australian Government was partnering with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Limited (ARLF) to create a new generation of community leaders.

“Community leaders and mentors play a critical role in helping people prepare for, and live through, times of drought,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“The Future Drought Fund Leaders program is about supporting community members to undertake leadership development and community activities that build drought resilience in their local area.

“Together with the ARLF, we’ll support people to develop their leadership skills, and put those skills to use helping farmers and agricultural communities prepare for future drought.

“The participants selected for Victoria’s Goulburn Valley region are the first of two pilot regions to participate in the program.

Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum said the Goulburn Valley participants represented a good cross section of the region.

“This is a great opportunity for communities in the Goulburn Valley to gain knowledge and skills to become the next generation of leaders,” Mr Drum said. 

“The pilot will encourage a new culture of information-sharing among agricultural communities on droughts and building resilience in the Goulburn Valley.

“It will help to ensure that future leaders can play an active role in helping to build drought resilience and preparedness.”

“Applications for the second pilot region, in Central West Queensland, opened in early August and close on 21 September.

For more information including eligibility criteria visit https://rural-leaders.org.au/our-programs/drought-resilience-leaders/

The announcement today of the 26 participants in the Goulburn Valley Drought Resilience Leaders program comes after the Federal Government earlier this year named University of Melbourne’s regional campus in Dookie, north-east of Shepparton, as a Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub. 

Made possible through an $8 million investment from the Federal Government, the Dookie hub is one of eight that will be established around the country through the Federal Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund.

For more information about the Future Drought Fund Drought Resilience Leaders program and other Future Drought Fund programs visit www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/future-drought-fund/drought-resilience-leaders

Fast facts:

  • The Drought Resilience Leaders is a program under the $5 billion Future Drought Fund. 
  • $100 million is made available each year from the Fund to support Australian farmers and communities to prepare for and become more resilient to the effects of future drought.
  • 10 further regions around Australia will open for applications from October. These are:
    • Northern Wheatbelt, Western Australia
    • Gascoyne Murchison, Western Australia
    • Mallee, Victoria
    • South West, Queensland
    • Eyre Peninsula – West, South Australia
    • Murray Lands, South Australia
    • Western New South Wales
    • North West Slopes and Plains, New South Wales
    • Katherine region, Northern Territory
    • North East, Tasmania