The National Farmers’ Federation calls on Parliament to support swift passage of the Government’s Future Drought Fund this week.
NFF President Fiona Simson said drought was a part of Australia’s landscape and managing drought was a feature of Australian agriculture.
“For too long all levels of government have reacted to the impact of drought by taking ad hoc measures in the middle of a drought event,” Ms Simson said.
“The Future Drought Fund is rightly focused on building Australia’s drought resilience.
“With drought forecast to become more frequent and severe as a result of climate change – focusing on preparedness and resilience is critical,” Ms Simson said.
The Future Drought Fund is an outcome of the Prime Minister’s Drought Summit in October last year. It will provide $100 million a year from 2020 to fund initiatives that improve drought resilience, preparedness and recovery across regional Australia.
A key feature of the Future Drought Fund legislation is the establishment of a Consultative Committee – an outcome the NFF sought in its submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee inquiry.
The Committee will be tasked with advising on the Drought Resilience Funding Plan and funding of specific grants and projects and will play an important role in ensuring money is spent where it will have the most impact on building long-term drought resilience.
“The Future Drought Fund provides all stakeholders with an opportunity to shape the Drought Resilience Funding Plan,” Ms Simson said.
“It also enables flexibility in the drought resilience initiatives to be funded to ensure innovative and tailored approaches can be supported.
“Drought impacts every farm and every community differently. And we are constantly re-examining and learning new ways to tackle drought.
“The Future Drought Fund guarantees that building drought resilience remains a priority while not locking in how best to achieve that resilience,” Ms Simson said.
The NFF is working with a range of stakeholders to develop a comprehensive National Drought Policy that articulates the roles and responsibilities of all levels of government, industry and local communities in preparing for and tackling drought. The Drought Resilience Funding Plan will be an integral part of this National Drought Policy.
“We congratulate Prime Minister Morrison and Drought Minister, David Littleproud on their work on the Future Drought Fund,” Ms Simson said.
“We implore the Parliament to come together and secure its passage – our farmers and rural and regional Australia are counting on it.”