David Templeman

David Templeman

Minister for the Environment; Climate Change; Peel

Kim Chance

Kim Chance

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; the Mid West and Wheatbelt; Great Southern

    Western Australian agriculture responds to climate change

    27/05/2008 12:00 AM

    The State Government today highlighted that adapting to climate change was one of the most important issues facing the agricultural sector into the future.


    Speaking at a forum on the Directions for Climate Change Adaptation Research in Agriculture and the Environment, Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance said he was committed to ensuring Western Australia’s agricultural sector was well prepared to manage the risks and capture the opportunities associated with climate change.


    “Climate change poses a significant, permanent challenge for all our agricultural industries, possibly requiring changes to production systems, scale of operations and management of risks,” Mr Chance said.


    The Minister said $3 million had been allocated in the recent State Budget to undertake scoping and planning for the new Underwood Avenue Research Precinct, which was a collaboration involving CSIRO, The University of Western Australia, the Department of Agriculture and Food and other Agricultural Research WA partners.


    “As the first step, 15 staff from the Department of Agriculture and Food and CSIRO have already been co-located to Floreat to undertake consolidated climate science and modelling research,” he said.


    Climate Change Minister David Templeman said it was crucial that governments worked together with industry to ensure they could confront the challenges posed by the changing climate.


    The Department of Environment and Conservation’s Office of Climate Change is working with the agriculture and food sectors to assess the risks to infrastructure in these industries and how those risks could affect WA’s economy,” Mr Templeman said. 


    “The office is also helping the Department of Agriculture and Food to develop a climate change blueprint for agriculture and forestry and an emissions reduction strategy for the sector.”


    Mr Chance said the Department of Agriculture and Food had been undertaking climate related research for a number of years, including investigating seasonal forecasting technologies to provide farmers with a better understanding of the outlook for rainfall in the coming season.


    “Through the AcCLimatise program, the department has also trained farmers in understanding climate information and given them new knowledge to help make better decisions,” he said.


    “Breeding grain varieties which are better suited to the dry conditions has also been a key focus for the department, with varieties such as Wyalkatchem having proved their ability to deliver yield under the drying climate experienced in the past few years.


     “A joint study has also been undertaken with UWA on nitrous oxide emissions from grain production systems, and the department continues to work on economic modelling of yield performance under the future climate scenarios.


    “The department has also commenced work that aims to improve our understanding of the variation in methane emissions between individual sheep in a flock.  This research will be looking to determine whether the variation is due to genetic factors or just a difference in rumen micro-organisms.”


    Mr Chance said looking to the future, the department would co-fund an academic appointment in climate change science at UWA to support the introduction of a new degree course in climate change studies.


    Office of the Minister for Agriculture and Food - 9213 6700

    Office of the Minister for Climate Change - 9220 5050