Federal drought funding to be boosted by $519.1 million

Sheep Central, May 7, 2024

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese left with Queensland Premier (of Beef) Stephen Miles at Beef2024.

AUSTRALIAN farmers will be able to access almost $520 million in Future Drought Fund programs from 1 July Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced at Beef2024 in Rockhampton today.

The $519.1 million in funding comes after a restructure of the fund and its objectives, and will deliver better tools to mitigate drought impacts, provide strategies for local communities to prepare for and manage drought risks and boost investment in the drought hub network, the government said.

Key programs included in the restructured fund will include:

$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.

$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.

The funding to be detailed in next week’s Federal Budget has been welcomed by the National Farmers Federation with NFF president David Jochinke. He said the FDF was central to making producers more resilient in the face of current and future droughts.

“Supporting long-term resilience through initiatives and programs like those funded by the FDF has never been more important.

“Having been up and running for several years it makes sense to continually review the FDF and ensure we’re making the most of that investment,” he said.

“The Prime Minister being in Rockhampton to make today’s announcement hopefully demonstrates that drought resilience is front of mind for this Government, especially given the dry conditions being faced by producers in the West and Tasmania,” Mr Jochinke said.

Mr Jochinke said the NFF was pleased to see the continuation of the Farm Business Resilience Program.

“Sound financial planning is one of the most powerful tools we have to prepare for drought, and we know that program has helped thousands of farmers sharpen up their preparation.

“We’re also pleased to see a review of the Drought Hubs and more investment in overall monitoring and evaluation of the FDF.  This is something we’ve called for to ensure we’re seeing tangible outcomes for the sector,” he said.

However, Mr Jochinke said while FDF changes were welcome, the sector couldn’t ignore a range of adverse policies that would be clouding the PM’s visit to Rockhampton this week.

“If the government was fair dinkum about the resilience of Aussie farmers, it would urgently scrap harmful policies like the Biosecurity Protection Levy or the phase out of live sheep exports.

“It would also stop denying justice to the victims of the 2011 live cattle export ban and settle that long-running class action,” he said.

“Giving with one hand and taking with another doesn’t really get us anywhere,” Mr Jochinke said.

Mr Albanese said it’s vital that Australian farmers and producers are supported 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,” he said.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said very dry conditions are already being seen 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,” he said.

“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.”


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  1. Glenn Nix, May 7, 2024

    Albo and that hat hurt my eyes.

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