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Drought and rural assistance

​Drought support in Australia

Drought—a recurring feature of the Australian landscape—is one of the biggest challenges farmers face and has a significant impact on agricultural output, productivity and on-farm incomes.​​ The Australian Government is committed to supporting farm families, farm businesses and rural communities who are doing it tough.

In recent years, the Australian, state and territory governments have been working together to reform drought policy to make sure farmers are better supported to prepare for drought, as well as providing in-drought assistance when needed. You can read more about the history of reform on our drought policy page.

Building on the reform process and the range of assistance already available, in July 2015 the Australian Government announced the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, which includes a number of additional measures to help farmers prepare for, manage through and recover from drought.

These measures cover a range of activities including concessional loans, taxation measures, enhanced social support and local community infrastructure projects. Farmers can use many of the new, practical White Paper initiatives not only to manage drought, but the broad range of production and business risks they face. While most of these measures are being delivered by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, some are being delivered by other government agencies such as the Department of Human Services, the Department of Social Services, and the Australian Taxation Office. Some programmes are also being delivered by state and territory governments. Contact details for the organisations delivering each measure is available at the Drought Assistance Contacts page.

More information about Australian Government drought support, including the measures announced in the White Paper is available at Assistance Measures or on the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper website.

A summary of these support measures is also available in the Drought and Rural Support Factsheet.