Working together for a drought-proof future

The Albanese Government is leading the discussion on drought preparedness and response, with consultation underway on a new Australian Government drought plan.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt said the best way to support the agricultural sector and rural communities was to speak with them directly.

“We’ve just published our review into the Australian Government national drought plan—which means fresh ideas and new voices have explored hands-on approaches to managing drought,” Minister Watt said.

“While reviewing the current plan, more than 100 farming, community, environmental and other organisations had their say on how we could make improvements. Thanks to their feedback we now have 18 recommendations to consider.

“The landscape has changed significantly since the Drought Response, Resilience and Preparedness Plan was released in 2019—so a review was needed—and as we head towards our next El Niño cycle, drought preparedness is essential.  

“We want to make sure the plan is useful for farmers and rural communities, and we are consulting with stakeholders further to make sure the plan is fit-for-purpose.

“Two forums will be run later this year. My department will work with the National Farmers’ Federation to host the next National Drought Forum in Rockhampton this September.

“Policy makers and support organisations will come together at that forum. It’s a chance to hear stakeholder’s views on how to face challenges that accompany drought, like mental health impacts, climate change and sustainable agriculture, and the contribution of First Nations People to drought policy.

“There will also be a Science to Practice Forum in June—held by the Future Drought Fund. Farmers are using innovative tools and practices to build drought resilience and sustainability in the agricultural sector, and this is their chance to share what they know.

“Good policy doesn’t happen in a vacuum, I encourage anyone with an interest in sustainable, climate-smart agriculture to get involved and have their voice heard.”

The review of the Australian Government drought plan can be read here: https://haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/new-australian-government-drought-plan.

To register for the 2023 Science to Practice Forum, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/2023-science-to-practice-forum-tickets-596424209867.