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Eight new Future Drought Fund projects to build drought preparedness

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Australian Government is getting on with the job of building drought preparedness across the country, with the first programs from the $5 billion Future Drought Fund rolling out in July 2020.

You can see the list of programs here.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said the Future Drought Fund is a long-term, sustainable investment that will make $100 million available each year to help our farmers and communities prepare for the impacts of drought.

“Drought is an enduring feature of the Australian landscape. It has economic, environmental and social impacts on our farmers, communities and landscape,” Minister Littleproud said.

The first eight programs from the Future Drought Fund will give farmers and communities the tools they need to prepare for, manage and sustain their livelihoods during droughts.

“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.

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

National Coordinator-General for Drought and Flood Shane Stone AC QC welcomed the ‘over the horizon’ measures.

“My Agency and I continue to focus on the here and now. We are out in rural and regional communities, listening to farmers and businesses in affected areas, drawing on their ideas and concerns to provide advice and feedback to Government.

“I’m pleased to see that communities will be getting some assistance through the Networks for Building Drought Resilience program. Communities will be able to get funding to plan what their region needs, and importantly, funding to foster the networks and activities that strengthen their wellbeing. This is in line with our guiding principle that the people who are set to benefit from support should have a say in how it’s best used in their community.

“One thing I hear over and over on my community visits is that every farm is a business but not every farmer is a businessperson. The $20m Farm Business Resilience Program will provide farmers with training to strengthen their business management skills and develop a Farm Business Plan tailored to the needs of them and their farm. This is a very welcome initiative,” Mr Stone Said.

The programs have been selected based on expert advice from an independent Consultative Committee, with input from communities and industry.

The Government will continue to monitor and adapt programs to make sure they are building resilience and delivering for farmers and the community. 

The Future Drought Fund is an important part of the Government’s Drought Response, Resilience and Preparedness Plan to deliver the support Australian farmers and communities need to be sustainable and productive.

The eight programs rolling from July 2020, totalling $89.5 million, are:

  • The $20m Farm Business Resilience Program, providing farm businesses with training to strengthen their strategic business management skills and develop a farm business plan to build risk management capacity and drought resilience.
  • The $10m Climate Services for Agriculture program funding the development and delivery of interactive digital ‘climate information services’ for the agriculture sector to assist farmers to make real-time decisions. 
  • The $3m Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool, providing an online self-assessment tool for farmers to self-identify drought risks based on a range of social, economic and environmental indicators, and take action to build the drought resilience of their farm business.
  • The $20.3m Drought Resilience Research and Adoption program, which will establish two regionally located Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs, and Innovation Grants will become available to research organisations, private sector, industry, not-for-profit organisations and community groups.
  • The $15m Natural Resource Management (NRM) Drought Resilience program, which will fund regional NRM bodies to undertake projects to build drought resilience of natural capital on agricultural landscapes, and there will also be grants available to organisations, farmer groups and individuals to undertake NRM projects to build the drought resilience of natural capital on small scales.
  • The $3.8m Networks for Building Drought Resilience program, supporting community-driven projects that enhance drought resilience and strengthen networks, including small-scale infrastructure projects to make community facilities drought resilient.
  • The $7.5m Drought Resilience Leaders program, which will develop leadership capability in communities and include a mentoring component to foster uptake of innovative practices to build drought resilience of farmers and their businesses.
  • The $10m for Regional Drought Resilience Planning which will fund consortia of local councils or equivalent entities to develop Regional Drought Resilience Plans for agriculture and allied industries.

You can find out more details about the programs on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website or by calling 1800 900 090.