Future Drought Fund
Drought is an enduring feature of the Australian landscape. It has significant economic, social and environmental impacts.
The $5 billion Future Drought Fund provides secure, continuous funding for drought resilience initiatives. It will help Australian farms and communities prepare for the impacts of drought.
On 1 July 2020, the Australian Government announced the foundational programs for the Future Drought Fund. These programs will help boost the performance of Australian agriculture and increase its resilience to the impacts of drought.
Future Drought Fund Programs
Further details of each program will be published as it becomes available. Please register at www.haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/future-drought-fund to be kept informed of announcements.
The following programs will be delivered in accordance with the principles outlined in the Future Drought Fund’s 2020-24 Drought Resilience Funding Plan, including as far as practicable, a requirement of co-investment to maximise program outcomes.
Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool
An accessible online tool enabling farmers to understand their own climate and drought risks, and self-identify where improvements can be made to increase the resilience of farming businesses.
A provider will be engaged shortly to design the tool, which will include a consultation phase with end users to ensure it will meet their needs. The first phase of the tool is expected to be operational before 30 June 2021.
The Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool will bring together existing data related to drought resilience, and through a useable and accessible tool, help farmers identify localised risks to make well-informed decisions about their business.
Climate Services for Agriculture Program
An interactive digital platform bringing together a variety of climate information specifically for farmers and the agricultural sector. It will help farm businesses anticipate and plan for the impacts of a variable and changing climate.
A provider will be engaged shortly to design the service, which will include a consultation phase with end users to ensure it will meet their needs. The first phase of the platform is expected to be operational before 30 June 2021.
This program will deliver an interactive digital ‘climate information service’ for the agriculture sector to assist farmers to make real-time decisions. It will make existing information more relevant, generating useable information from data, and providing tools that can be applied in local decision-making about the impacts of climate change on future drought trends.
The program will integrate data from various sources offering an intuitive, user-friendly platform that enables decision-making and transformation in response to droughts.
Natural Resource Management Drought Resilience Program — Landscapes
The program will provide funds to regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) bodies to undertake projects focussed on promoting and implementing transformational practices, approaches or systems to improve the management of natural resources and build the drought resilience of agricultural landscapes.
A competitive procurement process to deliver funding through regional NRM bodies commenced in July 2020, with funds expected to be provided for activities to commence in February 2021.
The program will provide funding for a range of different landscape scale activities by regional NRM bodies to enhance drought resilience. For example, creating shelterbelts – which improve resilience to drought by reducing wind erosion, providing shade and shelter for livestock, and refuges for native wildlife.
Natural Resource Management Drought Resilience Program — Grants
The program will provide grants of between $20,000 and $200,000 to organisations, farmer groups and individuals to build drought resilience on agricultural landscapes.
A competitive grants process for organisations, farmer groups and individuals opened on 29 September 2020. Funding for successful applicants is expected to be provided for activities to commence in 2021.
Through holistic management and adoption of new or existing technology and practices, this program will deliver a range of on-ground outcomes achieving benefits tailored to meet local priorities and contribute to landscape-scale drought resilience.
For example, projects which regenerate and maintain groundcover can deliver drought resilience by improving the soil’s water infiltration and storage capacity—reducing run-off and associated water erosion.
Drought Resilience Research and Adoption
$86 million over four years
Eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs will be established in Australia’s major climatic and agricultural zones across regional Australia. Hubs will be networks of researchers, primary producers, industry groups, community groups and others.
Hubs will harness research, development and innovation to build drought resilience. They will translate research into practical on-ground action through support for extension, adoption, testing, scaling up and commercialisation support.
A competitive process to select hubs in each of the targeted regions opened 30 October 2020.
An advisory panel will be established to provide strategic direction and oversight of the program. Among other things, this will support the national coordination and connection of the regional hubs to national priorities and advances. Arrangements for the panel will be announced by early 2021.
Under the program there will also be Innovation Grants for research organisations, private sector, industry, not-for-profit organisations and community groups. A call for applications for the Innovation Grants is expected open in February 2021.
The Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs will support the development of extension and adoption activities, and opportunities to commercialise new knowledge. Innovation Grants will develop collaborative drought resilience projects to assist primary producers and communities to adapt and transform.
Networks to Build Drought Resilience
This program will provide funding to networking groups to support training and networking events to develop skills, participate in risk management planning, and foster projects that encourage connectedness and improve wellbeing. It will support small-scale infrastructure projects to make community facilities drought resilient to support community wellbeing and reduce social isolation. For example, installation of water efficiency or recycling infrastructure, or providing shade for sporting and recreational facilities, upgrades to public gardens, tourist attractions and other community facilities.
Increasing the presence and reach of community networks through rural and regional Australia makes communities better prepared for, and better able to recover from, the impacts of drought.
Drought Resilience Leaders
This program will provide funding to community members to undertake training in leadership and to undertake a community activity to build drought resilience in their locality.
The program will also include a mentoring component to foster informal knowledge sharing and uptake of innovative practices to build the drought resilience of farmers and their businesses.
The program provides an opportunity for farmers and regional community members to gain knowledge and skills through training and mentoring programs to build local drought resilience.
Farm Business Resilience Program
Providing farm businesses with training to develop strategic management skills and support the development of a Farm Business Plan through facilitated sessions.
The Australian Government will work with State and Territory Governments to develop this program.
Participants will develop a Farm Business Plan, tailored to their business and situation, and have the opportunity for professional assessment and feedback on the plan.
Training will cover areas such as strategic business skills, risk management, natural resource management, and personal and social resilience.
Regional Drought Resilience Planning
Through group partnerships with local councils and regional stakeholders - develop a Regional Drought Resilience Plan for agriculture - identifying and guiding innovative actions to build resilience to future droughts.
The Australian Government will work with State and Territory Governments to develop this program.
This program aims to encourage collaboration across regions to consider what actions are needed, and how they could be implemented, to improve regional drought resilience.
Plans will be independently assessed and published to allow communities to learn from each other, taking into account each region's unique conditions - socially, economically and environmentally.
How it works
The Fund began with an initial credit of $3.9 billion. Earnings are reinvested until the balance reaches $5 billion (expected in 2028-29). See the details about Future Fund investments.
From July 2020, $100 million will be made available each year from the Fund to support Australian farmers and communities to prepare for and become more resilient to the effects of future drought.
This will make agriculture more productive and profitable, enhance the wellbeing of our farming communities and improve the sustainability and resilience of the natural resources on which agriculture depends.
Drought Resilience Funding Plan
The Drought Resilience Funding Plan (the Funding Plan) is a high-level framework to guide funding decisions for the programs.
The Funding Plan aligns with existing drought policies and strategies, including the National Drought Agreement.
The independent Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee comprises experts in fields that include agricultural economics, climate risk, rural and regional development and natural resource management.
The Committee provided expert advice to the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, on the Drought Resilience Funding Plan 2020 to 2024.
The Committee also provided expert advice to the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management on the consistency of the design of the programs with the Funding Plan.
Regional Investment Corporation Board
The Regional Investment Corporation Board provides advice to the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, on whether or not a proposed arrangement, grant or agreement is consistent with the Funding Plan.
We consulted on the draft Drought Resilience Funding Plan from 29 October to 13 December 2019. We held 73 face-to-face discussions in 23 locations around Australia. Participants also completed an online survey and uploaded written submissions.
The Funding Plan will be reviewed every four years. This will ensure it captures emerging priorities and remains future-focused. The Productivity Commission will assess the effectiveness of each Funding Plan before it expires, in a report that will be tabled in Parliament.
Download the factsheet
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, July 2020
|Future Drought Fund: building a drought-resilient future PDF||2||571 KB|
|Future Drought Fund: building a drought-resilient future DOCX||3||847 KB|
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