Advisory Committee


The Future Drought Fund supports the 8 Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

Farmers join the hubs to codesign drought resilience innovation and adoption strategies.

The hubs respond to the needs, priorities, and opportunities in their region.


The independent Advisory Committee has oversight of the hubs. It ensures the hubs align with national priorities, advances, and strategic objectives. The Committee also helps maintain connections between the work of the hubs.

Roles and responsibilities

The Committee advises the Minister and the Department on how to:

  • Select the hubs
  • Set up the hubs
  • Connect the hubs
  • Develop a Drought Resilience Research and Adoption Investment Plan
  • Monitor and evaluate the performance of the hubs
  • Set priorities for the Future Drought Fund Innovation Grants
  • Support the hubs connecting to the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda
  • Identify adoption and commercialisation pathways
  • Engage stakeholders across the innovation value chain.

Committee members

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Brent Finlay, Chair

Brent has 40 years' experience in agriculture.

He is managing director of Finley Agricultural Industries (FIA). FIA provides strategic advice to agricultural enterprises.

Brent is independent chair of Granite Belt Water (GBW). GWB is building a new dam and irrigation scheme for horticulture in the Darling Downs.

Brent was president of the National Farmers' Federation. He was also president of AgForce Queensland. He represented Oceania at the World Farm Organisation in Rome.

Brent runs sheep property, Coorinda, in the traprock area of south east Queensland.

Emeritus Professor James Rowe

James was Professor of Animal Science at the University of New England.

His doctorate is in animal nutrition.

James was CEO of the CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation. He has worked with government, and public and private sector companies.

James contributed to many innovative sheep production and feeding systems, like ASKBILL. ASKBILL predicts sheep wellbeing and productivity using weather, pasture, and stock information.

Caroline Welsh

Caroline is a director of Birchip Cropping Group (BCG). BCG uses research and extension to improve the success of broadacre farmers.

Caroline is also deputy chair of GWMWater.

She has worked for government in agricultural communication, irrigation development and climate variability.

Caroline is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Caroline lives in Berriwillock in Victoria's Mallee region. She is a partner in a family grain farm.

Dale Park

Dale is the director of Kilandra Pastoral Co and manager of DH & JM Park.

Dales' industry knowledge is in agribusiness and new business development.

Dale was president of the Western Australian Farmers' Federation. He is passionate about representing his fellow producers.

Dale has a longstanding interest in drought resilience. He is a board member of Farmers for Climate Action. He is also a member of the National Farmers' Federation environment committee.

Dale farms cattle in Badgingarra, north of Perth.

Trent De Paoli

Trent is the CEO of biotechnology company Novum Lifesciences. His expertise is in food technology, manufacturing, and processing.

Trent was the director of the AustChilli Group. AustChilli is Australia's largest supplier of fresh chilli and innovative food ingredients.

He is passionate about innovation, problem solving and scaling businesses.

Trent has served on agriculture boards including the Agricultural Industry Advisory Council.

Trent is a 2013 Nuffield Scholar. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Last reviewed: 22 April 2021
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