Reaching out to agribusiness in Hawkesbury

Hawkesbury City Council is collaborating with Regional Development Australia – Sydney to increase farming communities’ awareness, knowledge, skills and capacity to adopt best practice sustainable agriculture.

The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Barry Calvert congratulated Regional Development Australia – Sydney on receiving a Smart Farms Small Farms Grant from the National Landcare Program.

“Regional Development Australia – Sydney will use this grant to assist in building the capabilities of current and future land managers to ensure the survival of agribusinesses in Sydney’s peri-urban region, specifically in the Hawkesbury and Wollondilly,” Mayor Calvert said.

“This highly productive peri-urban region is uniquely situated between natural bushland and environmentally sensitive areas including the UNESCO world heritage Blue Mountains National Park, the city’s water catchment and highly urbanised areas. Our region provides an important buffer between our bushlands and the city.

“The project will seek to build the capabilities of current and future land managers to ensure the survival of agribusinesses in this region,” he said.

“Hawkesbury City Council is delighted to partner with Regional Development Australia – Sydney, as well as Western Sydney Local Land Services, Wollondilly Shire Council and Liverpool City Council on this project.”

The project is titled ‘How to run a resilient and profitable agricultural enterprise in Sydney’s peri-urban fringe in a rapidly changing environment and marketplace’. It will support sustainable agricultural production in Sydney’s peri-urban region and help viable enterprises manage the transition towards more sustainable land management practices and adopt new technologies to meet future challenges.

Project objectives

  • Provide skills and knowledge to enable the uptake of new business practices aimed to encourage innovation and the uptake of technology through collaborations that promote sustainable resource management
  • Foster ongoing engagement and collaboration between agribusinesses, local Landcare groups and supply chain partners so land managers can leverage new infrastructure and innovations aligned with Sydney’s expansion and the proposed agribusiness precinct
  • Develop a talent pool and build the capabilities of regional leaders. We want to attract women and younger people, in particular, who are adaptable and keen to adopt new technologies such as automation, smart traceability tools, robotics and new business processes
  • Build resilient, sustainable and profitable agricultural communities we need to prepare and better connect existing F&A businesses to their communities and industry partners so they are able to adopt best practice and sustainable management strategies and adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Regional Development Australia – Sydney will also establish two Communities of Practice to provide ongoing support, advisory services and deliver a series of stakeholder led workshops to achieve the project’s objectives. The workshops will cover sustainability and land management; supply chain and value adding; the circular economy and new consumer trends; and innovation.

The project will also help to foster existing networks to provide ongoing support such as Hawkesbury Harvest, orchardists, farmers etc. with support from Hawkesbury City Council

Regional Development Australia – Sydney is part of a network of national regional development bodies, overseen by a local Committee and Chair appointed by the Australian Government. Regional Development Australia – Sydney aims to enhance economic and employment growth across the 33 Local Government Areas in the Sydney region.

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