Joint media release: $519 million boost to help farmers mitigate impacts of drought

Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese MP 
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Senator Murray Watt

The Albanese Labor Government will invest a record $519.1 million into the Future Drought Fund to help farmers and regional communities prepare for the next drought and build climate resilience.  

The previous Fund under the Morrison Government did not acknowledge climate change as a driver of longer and more severe droughts. Today we have fixed this.

Labor has restructured the Fund and its objectives to get better results for farming families and communities and will provide record funding for it in next week’s budget.

Farmers are on the frontline of climate change and the Albanese Government has listened to what they need.

  • This Fund will provide:
    Better tools for farmers to help mitigate the impact of drought on their farms.
  • Strategies for local communities to prepare for and manage risks through drought. 
  • Increased investment in the existing network of drought hubs.

The programs will start to become available from 1 July 2024.

Communities can find out more by reaching out to the Department of Agriculture online or by phone.

Today’s announcement is in response to the recent Productivity Commission review, last year’s National Drought Forum, and extensive consultation with stakeholders.

Improving the sustainability of the agricultural sector is a key priority for the sector and the Albanese Government and this investment today responds to the increasing risk climate change is posing to rural and regional communities.

Examples of programs included in the Fund:

  • $235 million to extend the Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs, the Future Drought Fund Communities program and the next phase of the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program. 
  • $137.4 million to extend and improve the existing Farm Business Resilience and Climate Services for Agriculture programs, and the new Scaling Success Program. The Farm Business Resilience program has already helped thousands of farmers with business planning, coaching, and financial literacy training.
  • $120.3 million for programs that trial innovative solutions to build long-term resilience to drought and climate risks. 
  • Expansion of the Long Term Trials Program, roll out of the revised Resilient Landscapes Program, and implementation of a new Innovation Challenges Pilot to drive the uptake of evidence-based, innovative practices, approaches and technologies.

Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese:

“It’s vital that we support Australian farmers and producers to be prepared for more severe weather impacts.

“That is why we’re investing hundreds of millions more in the agricultural sector and regional communities to plan and prepare for drought through the Future Drought Fund.

“By doing the work now our rural and regional communities are not just reacting to events as they unfold, but will have considered plans to make them more resilient to climate change.”

Quotes attributable to Agriculture Minister Murray Watt:

“Every morning when farmers around the country wake up, put their boots on and go to work, they are one day closer to the next drought.

“We are already seeing very dry conditions in Western Australia and some parts of Tasmania.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to planning for drought, that’s why we’re investing heavily now in a new and improved Future Drought Fund.

“We’re helping farmers across the country develop business plans to manage diversification in a changing climate, we’re helping regional communities manage drought and other climate risks, and helping individuals get leadership training and mentoring.

“I’ve seen firsthand the great work under the FDF, like trialling new, drought-resistant livestock feed and connecting farmers with the latest scientific advice on reducing drought impacts.

“Our commitment of nearly $520 million from the FDF supports farmers and farming communities to take steps ahead of time.

“This not only empowers farmers and communities but makes them more self-reliant when drought hits.”

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