The federal government is partnering with its state and territory counterparts to deliver programs that will help farmers and regional communities better prepare for and manage drought.
The two Future Drought Fund programs will be rolled out in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, and the ACT.
The first is a $16 million Farm Business Resilience program, which will give farmers access to subsidised learning and development opportunities. This includes learning in the areas of risk management, decision-making, resource management, and personal and social resilience, according to federal agriculture, drought and emergency management minister David Littleproud.
“Farmers will be supported to work on their farm business plans and will have access to experts and one-on-one professional advice on their plan,” he said.
SA primary industries and regional development minister David Basham said farm businesses would be connected with industry-led training and family and business support mentors through the program.
“This tailored one-on-one business support led by industry will give farmers the flexibility to develop a farm business plan that meets the needs of their farm,” he said.
The second program is a $9.85 million Regional Drought Resilience Planning program, which will support partnerships of regional organisations, councils, communities and farmers to develop regional drought resilience plans specific to their area.
The drought resilience plans will identify actions to prepare for and manage drought, and would build drought resilience across the agricultural sector and allied industries, Littleproud noted.
“Planning will be community-led and owned. It will be collaborative, bringing together diverse knowledge and perspectives across the region, along with the best available evidence and data,” he said.
Both of the initiatives are foundational programs under the federal government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund, and will be rolled out across the country from 2021 until June 2022.
NSW will receive $5.5 million in funding for farm business resilience and $1.9 million for regional drought resilience planning.
Queensland will get $4.4 million in for farm business resilience and $1.8 million for drought resilience planning.
SA will receive $2.2m for farm business resilience and $1.2 million for regional drought resilience planning.
Finally, the ACT will receive $150,000 for farm business resilience and more than $300,000 for drought resilience planning.