NFF drought policy goes to government

By Geoff Adams

Australia's peak farm lobby has settled on a blueprint for future drought response, with a national policy aimed at better co-ordinating all tiers of government.

The National Farmers' Federation has handed its national drought policy to the Morrison Government amid criticism such a strategy doesn't exist.

NFF president Fiona Simson said the framework would provide certainty for drought-affected people.

“This policy is not the panacea for this drought,” she said.

“This drought is unplanned and the actions of government are unplanned. That's due to previous governments before them.”

Ms Simson said a national drought policy was about making sure federal, state and local governments shouldered the burden of devastating dry spells.

“It's something until now every government has shirked,” she said.

“So we congratulate the Morrison Government on their willingness to embrace and approach this national drought strategy.

“The policy aims to bring all drought-affected stakeholders to the table including industry, community groups, local government, as well as federal, state and territory governments.”

It also seeks to:

  • Identify specific measures that need to be maintained, amended or reviewed, and propose new drought measures.
  • Build on the Council of Australian Governments' National Drought Agreement and incorporate lessons learned from past droughts.
  • Create a drought forum for submissions every two years, in drought and out of drought, on what has worked and what has not.
  • Establish a drought committee, responsible for overseeing implementation of the policy.
  • The committee would commission studies into the effectiveness of drought measures, review the national policy and recommend changes through a four-yearly review.