Have your say on $100m annual drought investment

Have your say on $100m annual drought investment

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Public consultation kicks off for Future Drought Fund advisory committee.

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The Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee's is kicking off a nation-wide round of public consultations.

Public meetings will be held throughout November in all states and territories, except the ACT. Online submissions can also be made.

The Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee is tasked with advising the Minister on spending priorities.

The fund will deliver $100m a year in perpetuity. It was the government's big ticket commitment to the farm sector in its election campaign earlier this year.

The fund was passed into law in July and will deliver its first round of funding in July next year.

Legislation demands that the agriculture minister of the day stick to an overarching spending strategy, called the Drought Resilience Funding Plan.

The Consultative Committee will advise the minister on the Drought Resilience Funding Plan.

Legislation requires the plan to target funding at drought resilience measures, such as research and innovation; new technology; environmental and natural resource management; infrastructure; and community initiatives.

Consultancy committee chairman and former National Farmers Federation president, Brent Finlay said the while the consultation forums were restricted to 14 regional gatherings, he expected many good ideas and feedback would be submitted online.

He urged anybody associated with the agriculture sector to examine the committee's 18-page consultation draft plan drawn up during the past six weeks, and add their thoughts, new ideas or concerns.

Responses were welcome until just before Christmas.

The plan was due to be finalised by March.

"We'd like to have visited a lot more centres and talked directly with more people, but we have a tight timeline to finalise this funding plan, set up funding programs by April, then call for applications," he said.

Funds would be allocated from July 1.

The draft plan was a foundation for the community to work with, drawing on the depth of experience of committee members and a wealth of drought resources from the federal agriculture department and other authorities.

This included findings from the West Australian farm resilience and drought trials conducted during the past decade.

"There have been a lot of cases and documents

prepared in recent years which have contributed to the draft's foundations, which we'll now build on or modify," Mr Finlay said.

"Anybody can contribute their thoughts and tell us what we've missed or what's good or bad about the plan so far."

As tough as current drought conditions were, he emphasised the consultation was to seek feedback about how rural communities could building resilience initiatives to handle the next big dry.

"We want to know what people are learning or thinking about which may make us much better prepared next time around."

When it comes to spending $100m a year, investments must be consistent with the Drought Resilience Funding Plan.

The allocation of funds for projects and activities will be guided by the resulting Drought Resilience Funding Plan.

Drought Minister David Littleproud encouraged farmers, local communities, and industry organisations to contribute to consultation.

"Improved drought resilience could come from new tools, technologies or techniques that help farmers better manage their natural resources," Mr Littleproud said.

"It could come from better financial and business planning for lower income periods. Or it could come from better, more localised weather data and improved climate forecasting."

"For this reason I urge you to go online and have your say on the draft Drought Resilience Funding Plan and, if you can, attend one of the consultations being held around Australia."

To make a submission, read more about the Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee, or to register to attend consultation meetings visit:https://haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/future-drought-fund

The story Have your say on $100m annual drought investment first appeared on Farm Online.

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