Australia’s farmers and rural communities know that in our dry continent, drought is an enduring feature – something to be lived through and planned for. And they know drought isn’t like a flood or fire. It creeps up slowly, but when it starts to hit, it hits hard.
Some people have been living with the worst drought on record for more than 8 years. There can be no denying the strain this places on them financially, physically and emotionally.
And yet as the Coordinator-General for Drought and Flood, the Hon Shane Stone AC QC travels the country to see first-hand the impacts of drought and to understand how the Australian Government’s drought response is working and what more is needed, he hears stories of people and communities who won’t let this beat them.
Stories of communities who’ve made use of the Drought Communities Programme funding for Council-managed projects that create local employment and use local suppliers.
Stories of people who’ve taken advantage of the low interest loans available through the Regional Investment Corporation to make changes to their farm that will improve their business bottom line when the drought breaks.
Stories underscoring the importance of people like the Rural Financial Counsellors, and the National Drought and Flood Agency’s Regional Recovery Officers, who are the face of the Australian Government’s support for regional and rural Australia.
The Australian Government has committed more than $8 billion to 26 separate measures to support drought response, recovery and preparedness.
The National Drought and Flood Agency will continue talking to farmers, small businesses and people in regional and rural communities to find out what they need to get through this drought, that they know what’s available and how to access it, and that they are even better able to withstand future droughts.
We’re all in this together.