The Australian, state and territory governments, industry and individual farmers and businesses all have a role in responding to the current drought as well as preparing for future droughts and building resilience.
On 12 December 2018 the Australian, state and territory governments signed the National Drought Agreement (NDA), replacing the 2013 agreement. The NDA commits the Australian, state and territory governments to develop policies and programs that position farmers to plan for and manage risk; and prepare for, manage and recover from drought. It is in place until 30 June 2024 and will be reviewed approximately two years before expiry.
These six foundations underpin successful drought management.
- Drought is an enduring, regular feature of the Australian landscape. It is not a natural disaster.
- While droughts are normal for Australia, drought conditions are likely to become more frequent, severe and longer in some regions due to climate change.
- Farming is a business and drought is one of many business risks that should be managed.
- Drought preparations must continue during times of no drought.
- Policies and programs should focus on planning and preparation for future droughts and be developed with industry and communities.
- Information (social, economic and environmental) about drought conditions and impacts should be collected and understood at the local level so that governments, communities, businesses and farmers can tailor their preparation, plans and responses.
The Australian Government Drought Response, Resilience and Preparedness Plan (the Plan) is focused on three parts:
- Immediate action for those in drought—focused on measures to support farmers and communities facing prolonged drought conditions to keep them going until the drought breaks.
- Support for the wider communities affected by drought—rural and regional communities depend on our farmers and are at the heart of Australia.
- Long-term resilience and preparedness—building resilience and ability to withstand drought periods in the long term.