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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.

The Australian Government has announced the next suite of programs for the Future Drought Fund. Funding through to 2023-24 will continue to provide farmers, regional and rural communities with the tools they need for building drought resilience.

Find out more at

Future Drought Fund Programs

Further details of each program will be published as they becomes available. Please register at to be kept informed of announcements.

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.

Program funding is allocated until 2024.


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Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool


$10 million to 2023-24


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.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu have been selected to design and deliver the tool. The tool will be developed through co-design with end users to ensure fit for purpose product and draw upon Australia’s leading science around agricultural, economic, social and environmental resilience.


The Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool will bring together best available knowledge about drought resilience, and through a useable and accessible tool, help farmers identify localised risks to make well-informed decisions about their business.

Find out more about this program

Climate Services for Agriculture Program


$15 million to 2021-22


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.

CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology will design the service, which will include co-design with end users to ensure it will meet their needs. The first phase of the platform is expected to be operational by 30 June 2021.


This program will deliver an interactive digital ‘climate service’ for the agriculture sector to assist farmers to make real-time decisions to prepare for future drought and climate impacts. It will make existing information more relevant, generating actionable information from data at a regional scale.

The Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool will help farmers to apply insights from the Climate Service at the farm-level.

The program will integrate data from various sources offering an intuitive, user-friendly platform that enables users to understand:

  • what the future climate in their region is likely to look like
  • how the future climate could impact their business
  • what can be done now to prepare.
Find out more about this program

Drought Resilience Soils and Landscapes Program (formerly NRM – Landscapes and NRM – Grants programs)


$23 million to 2023-24, building upon $13.4 million invested in the Natural Resource management for Drought Resilience program


The program will provide funds to build the capacity of soils and agricultural landscapes to underpin farm productivity through times of drought.

A competitive process will open in late 2021, following consultation on how best to target the investment to achieve the desired transformational changes in land management.


The program will fund activities that test and support adoption of land management practices that help agricultural landscapes remain productive through times of drought to enhance drought resilience.

Find out more about the program (landscape)

Find out more about the program (grants)

Drought Resilience Research and Adoption


$117.3 million to 2023-24


The objective of this program is to invest into collaborative research, development, extension, adoption and commercialisation (RDEA&C) activities. These activities will help primary producers and rural and regional communities to become more prepared for, and resilient to, future droughts.

The program has the following interconnected elements: innovation hubs, innovation grants, research and adoption investment plan, and a science to practice forum.

Adoption and Innovation Hubs

  • Eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs in regional Australia.
  • Hubs will be located in regions within major climatic and agricultural zones across Australia.
  • Hubs will facilitate transformational change through co-design of RDEA&C activities.
  • Opportunity for farmers, researchers, local entrepreneurs, Indigenous groups, NRM practitioners, and industry and community groups to work together.
  • Collaboration will enable
    • user-centred innovation, research and adoption where it is needed.

Innovation Grants

  • Drought Resilience Innovation Grants will be available for research organisations, the private sector, industry, not-for-profit organisations and community groups.
  • Grants will support  development, extension, adoption and commercialisation projects co-designed to deliver targeted solutions to drought resilience priorities.
  • Applications for innovation Grants will open in late June 2021.

Research and Adoption Investment Plan

  • A Research Investment Plan will be developed through a participatory process to identify the highest national drought RDEA&C priorities. The Plan is expected to be published in July 2021.

Science to Practice Forum

  • A Science to Practice Forum will be held in June 2021 to bring together program participants, synthesise RDEA&C outcomes and inform practice and policy.
  • The forum will also facilitate key stakeholders’ discussion on RDEA&C gaps and priorities.


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.

Find out more about the program

Networks to Build Drought Resilience


$7.75 million to 2021-22


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.

Find out more about this program

Drought Resilience Leaders


$11.45 million to 2023-24


This program provides 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.

Find out more about this program

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.

The additional funding will also allow for grants for small-scale priorities within regional plans that benefit the local area.

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.

Consultative Committee

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.

See the results of our consultation.


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.

The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework will support the measurement and achievements of Future Drought Fund programs over time. 

Download the factsheet

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, May 2021

Document Pages File size
Future Drought Fund: Forging a path towards drought resilience PDF  2 276 KB
Future Drought Fund: Forging a path towards drought resilience DOCX  2 832 KB

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Last reviewed: 12 May 2021
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