Yesterday our Chief Operating Officer Nico Padovan PSM and head of our drought team Hannah Wandel met with His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia to brief him on the status of drought across Australia, and to share the Agency’s insights and experiences.
Through our work in the North Queensland flood zone since early 2019, and following our expanded remit to include drought last December, we have proven that that the ‘boots on the ground’ approach works. Within a week of being appointed, Coordinator-General Shane Stone AC QC and Agency staff hit the ground running, visiting drought-affected parts of NSW, the Northern Territory and Queensland, and we have since also been to Victoria and Tasmania.
Visiting regions affected by drought and the 2019 North Queensland floods remains a priority, COVID-19 rules permitting. In the meantime, we are deeply connected with rural and regional communities through our national network of Regional Recovery Officers.
From our extensive engagements, it’s clear the drought is not over and its impact is complex and variable from region to region. Drought is always going to be a challenge in Australia, so it’s important we continue to all work together across government to support the long recovery and prepare for future droughts and other challenges.
Across jurisdictions and across government, we are working together to maximise our collective effort to support regional and rural communities now and in the longer-term. No single level of government has all the answers. It’s a collaborative effort across federal, state, territory, local government and the community – we are all in this together.