News

$100 million available annually for drought resilience projects

By Rodney Woods

The programs that are part of the Federal Government's Future Drought Fund will start to be rolled out this month, as the government announces $100 million will be made available annually for drought resilience.

The Federal Government has invested $3.9 billion, with earnings to be reinvested until it grows to $5 billion, which is expected in 2028-29.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said this long-term, sustainable investment will make $100 million available each year to help our farmers and communities become more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought.

“Drought is an enduring feature of the Australian landscape,” he said.

“It has economic, environmental and social impacts on our farmers, communities and landscape.

“These programs will give farmers and communities the tools they need to prepare for, manage and sustain their livelihoods during droughts.”

The programs have been developed based on expert advice from the independent consultative committee, led by Brent Finlay, a fourth generation farmer, as well as valuable input from communities and industry during last year's national public consultation tour on the Drought Resilience Funding Plan.

“We are funding farm business planning, greater access to information for decision-making, adoption of research and technologies, and building the drought resilience of natural resources such as soil and vegetation in agricultural landscapes,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Communities will also benefit through improved regional planning, strengthening networks, leadership and community capabilities and small-scale infrastructure projects.”

NSW Farmers Association president James Jackson said while the programs were intended to support farmers to develop stronger risk planning and participate in collaborative innovation, it was critical these activities were fit for purpose and could be shaped to meet the needs of the individual farmer.

“NSW Farmers recognises the value of the Rural Financial Counselling Service, which has provided critical support for farmers as they manage through drought conditions,” he said.

“Programs that build management and planning must complement and extend this existing program.”

Further details on each program will be available as implementation arrangements are finalised and can be found at:
http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/future-drought-fund