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drought, natural disasters and biosecurity events to quickly and easily find Australian Government options available to support them in tough times and help them to get back on their feet,” said Mr Howard. “We’ve heard from the agriculture industry when farmers know where to find help, they feel more confident, and they have a better outlook on their ability to recover. We know from our own recent customer survey that nine out of ten RIC customers agree their RIC loan has made drought, natural disasters, or external disruption recovery easier,” he said. Australian Pump Industries 02 8865 3500 aussiepumps.com.au Distributor enquiries welcome The online Farm Relief Tool is available online at www.ric. gov.au/farm-relief-tool, and in person through the Rural Financial Counselling Service, or from RIC, NEMA and DAFF information stands at community agriculture events. RIC loans are available to eligible Australian farmers to recover from drought and natural disasters, biosecurity events and prepare for future events through its Drought Loan and Farm Investment Loan. Up to $2 million can be borrowed over 10 years with the first five years’ interest only followed by principal and interest for the remaining five years. The current variable interest rate is 4.52 per cent and reviewed every six months. For more on RIC loans visit www.ric.gov.au/loans. TRANSITION TO NET ZERO NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL New research from Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute has painted a clear picture of how Australia’s Net Zero by 2050 transition will impact regions and industries and recommended how to harness and mitigate the human cost. Dr Melinda Hildebrandt used modelling completed by VU’s Centre of Policy Studies in 2021 to examine features of the most affected regions and industries, and some of the current transition initiatives already underway. “We interviewed people engaged in work on local transition programs, mostly in the Hunter and LaTrobe valleys – this presented an accurate picture of the human cost and the significant need for urgent and targeted responses,” Dr Hildebrandt said. In early May 2023, the Federal Government established a National Net Zero Authority to support Australia’s transition by supporting workers, coordinate programs and policies and help investors and companies. “The National Net Zero Authority is welcomed but to ensure the authority is effective, we recommend a nuanced approach taking into account the unique features of each region and industry – it can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach,” she said. The recommendations are: • C oordinate resources across different levels of government and organisation so that the support is provided where and when it is needed. • I dentify best practice and fund support to affected regions/ employees so that regions can learn from each other. • C onduct further research so that policy makers are informed about the changing impacts of the transition to net zero economy at an industry and regional level. VU’s Centre of Policy Studies’ Professor Philip Adams said the work provided the evidence needed to challenge perceptions of transitioning to net zero would be an economic disaster. The team also identified the nine regions and ten industries most affected by a transition to net zero. “The modelling shows all regions in Australia will continue to grow in a post-fossil fuel era – in fact, industries you’d think would suffer like coal mining, will continue to be sizable employers,” Professor Adams said. The research team has submitted their final report to Jobs and Skills Australia for consideration. NEWS RIC CEO John Howard. 8 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023