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Drought in Australia

Access drought support

On 1 July, responsibility for drought policy moved to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the Department), which is responsible for a range of drought programs including the Future Drought Fund.

The Department will also continue to administer and report on the National Drought Agreement, the overarching framework that sets out our joint approach with states and territories to help support farming businesses and communities manage through drought; and enhance long-term preparedness. 

The National Emergency Management Agency's Recovery Support Officers and the Rural Financial Counselling Service will remain focused on the recovery and resilience needs of drought-affected communities.

They will continue to ensure people know where they can go for assistance and advice as they are in-drought; or begin to recover and prepare to minimise the impact of future droughts.

For those impacted by drought, please know that you are not alone and assistance is available, you can also visit Recovery Connect to find support relevant to you.

Australia's drought

Drought is an enduring, recurring feature of the Australian landscape. Droughts impact our social, economic and environmental systems, and are projected to continue to increase in the future.

Australia experiences drought in 3 stages – in-drought, recovering from and preparing for drought. Different regions, industries and farmers will be at different stages of drought at any one time.

By adapting to the drought cycle, Australian farming can remain profitable and sustainable. It can continue to protect our land and water, strengthen rural communities, secure the nation’s food supply and grow our economy.

Reviews on drought response

In 2020, the Agency led two complementary reviews of the Australian Government’s approach to assisting those impacted by, recovering from or preparing for the next drought.

The Government’s approach is reflected in its Drought Response, Resilience and Preparedness Plan.

These reviews provided an opportunity to look at the Government’s drought package as a whole, and to ensure that the measures are delivered in a coordinated and effective way.

The reviews show the significant commitment and positive impacts the Government’s measures have had on drought impacted farmers, communities and small businesses.

The reviews also demonstrate the Government’s desire for continuous improvement. The Department and Agency are continuing to work together to progress work identified in the reviews.

2021 National Drought Forum

On 9 June 2021, the Agency partnered with the National Farmers’ Federation to deliver a National Drought Forum in Toowoomba, Queensland, to reflect on the progress made in drought reform, recent drought programs, and discussed what further work needs to be done.

It brought together representatives from Australian, state, territory and local governments, national, state and industry farming bodies, the finance sector, charities and other stakeholders with a role and interest in strengthening our approach to drought response, resilience and preparedness.

The Agency and Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will continue to work with stakeholders on strengthening the approach to recovery and preparedness, ensuring ongoing collaboration.

Resources

Review of the Australian Government Drought Response

2019-20 Implementation Report on the Drought Response, Resilience and Preparedness Plan

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment drought information