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AustralianFarmers

Farmers present new drought policy to Government

The National Farmers’ Federation has outlined a new strategic long-term approach to managing drought.

Following a meeting of its members in Canberra this week, the NFF handed its new National Drought Policy to Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and Drought Minister, David Littleproud.

As farmers manage through one of the worst droughts in living memory and with no end in sight, NFF President Fiona Simson stressed that the policy was not designed to address the hardships of this drought.

However, she said it was critically important, to act now to ensure  Australia was better prepared for the next extreme dry.

“We appreciate the priority the Morrison Government has placed on assisting our drought-impacted farmers and communities to date.

“We’re looking forward to working with the Government on developing a new Commonwealth approach to drought in the future, as well as continuing the conversation about how to help farmers as this drought worsens.”

The NFF’s National Drought Policy sets out to:

  • Bring all stakeholders impacted by drought to the table including industry, community groups, local government as well as state and territory governments and the Commonwealth.
  • Identify specific drought measures that need to be maintained, amended, or reviewed; and to propose new drought measures.
  • Build on the COAG National Drought Agreement and incorporate lessons learnt from past droughts.
  • Create a Drought Forum that allows all stakeholders to provide input, every two years, in drought and out of drought, on what has worked and what has not.
  • Establish a Drought Committee responsible for overseeing implementation of the National Drought Policy and specific drought measures, commissioning studies into the effectiveness of drought measures, reviewing the National Drought Policy and individual measures, and recommending changes through a four-yearly review.

The Government this week announced that it would provide lump sum payments of  $13,000 for couples and $7,500 to farmers who have reached the four-year cap on Farm Household Allowance payments.

Ms Simson said the Farm Household Allowance program was a valuable part of a suite of assistance available right now to help farmers.

“It really is a day-by-day proposition and there is no doubt, that if and when conditions worsen, farmers will require increased and different types of help,” Ms Simson said.

“There is only one silver bullet for solving drought and that’s rain. There is no man-made panacea or policy solution. But, the NFF is strongly of the view that, in the long-term as a nation, can be do better than we have to date,” Ms Simson said.

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1 comment

  • Farming is a business and while investments carry a risk the lives of hard working people and their dependents need to be cared for. The best way to do this is to provide household support so that any children do not suffer to a point where their lives will forever after be scarred (likely through restricted access to tertiary education).
    The water fiasco needs fixing where a flood is not counted as an environmental flow. There could be three major floods down the river in any one year and no water held back for future dry times. An environmental flow must still be completed which is shear madness! This extra water could be used to top up allocations in drought affected areas; or at least ensure the irrigators are getting what they are paying for.
    Preparing for drought is another problem because only after a drought hits does a Government starts up schemes to alleviate the problem. May not be as many votes won this way but certainly more effective.

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