On 5 December 2019, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the expansion of NQLIRA’s remit to include drought response and recovery.
Along with these new responsibilities comes a new name – the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency.
The role of the Drought and Flood Agency is to provide national leadership and a whole-of-government response to support our farmers and regional communities as they respond to and recover from the drought and the flood in North Queensland flood earlier this year.
The Agency continues to be led by the Hon Shane L Stone AC QC in the role of Coordinator-General for Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery.
When announcing the new Agency, the Prime Minister described the way we work with and alongside North Queenslanders as “the public service at their best” and said we will do the same with drought-affected farmers and communities.
In our flood work we have demonstrated that the best people to decide what is needed to get through adversity and shape a region’s future are the people who live there. Our guiding principle continues to be “locally led, locally understood, and locally implemented”.
The expanded remit means we will continue to be on the road and will also have a strong regional presence. As with the flood event, it will mean listening to people’s stories – how they have worked to keep food on the table, their children in school, their stock fed and watered, their businesses open and their communities vibrant.
Before Christmas, Shane and Agency staff will make their way across NSW, the Northern Territory and Queensland, including in areas that were in drought, then in flood, and are in drought again.
The conversations around kitchen tables, walking paddocks and fields with farmers, and participating in community events have been key to our understanding of the issues faced by individuals and families living in rural and regional Australia. We look forward to continuing this ‘boots on the ground’ approach.