26 September 2023

Changes found for Future Drought Fund

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The Productivity Commission has released an interim report dealing with the Future Drought Fund (FDF) saying it can play an important role in assisting the Australian agricultural sector to prepare for the effects of drought and a changing climate.

The Review of Part 3 of the Future Drought Fund Act invites further views on the Commission’s initial findings and recommendations on ways to improve the operation and design of the FDF.

Commissioner, Joanne Chong said the FDF could build on its first four years with some changes to design and strategy.

“While it is too early to fully assess the impact of the first round of Fund programs, the report notes long-term improvements are unlikely because the initial suite of FDF programs was established too quickly, supported short-term initiatives and could have been better integrated with each other,” Ms Chong said.

“The Future Drought Fund aims to build resilience to drought, but short-term programs operating in isolation will struggle to deliver this.”

She said the Fund was more likely to generate lasting, impactful change through programs that were better integrated and targeted at addressing longer-term challenges.

“Re-focusing the fund on long-term resilience also means acknowledging that climate change is worsening adverse weather events,” Ms Chong said.

Commissioner, Malcolm Roberts said the FDF should explicitly recognise that drought was one part of the broader challenge to communities and agriculture that climate change represented.

“We cannot effectively build drought resilience in isolation from the other consequences of a changing climate,” Mr Roberts said.

The Commission is now seeking further feedback and submissions to inform its final report.

A full copy of Review of Part 3 of the Future Drought Fund Act – Interim Report is available from the Commission’s website at this PS News link.

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