Drought Fund amendment ensures future for all farmers

Drought Fund amendment ensures future for all farmers

The Federal Government’s Future Drought Fund will have to focus on building the resilience of all farming regions in Australia – not just the east coast – thanks to the work of Centre Alliance.

This week, as the Fund was passed in the Senate, Centre Alliance successfully moved an amendment to make sure the committee overseeing the $100 million annual spend is made up of members representing drought-prone areas around the nation.

In moving the amendment, Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick said the committee would be providing advice about programs worth millions of dollars so it was important that the members considered the whole country.

“This is to ensure that the drought is considered within a broader context and there is not a disproportionate focus on one region affected by drought,” Rex said.

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said Australians wanted the Government to help farmers recover from the current drought but they also expected the Fund to build resilience in all agricultural regions.

Centre Alliance’s Spokesperson for Agriculture said farming regions across the nation faced the prospect of drier conditions and more severe weather events as the effects of climate change played out.

“It's important to remember that all parts of Australia experience drought and all parts of Australia have agriculture as a significant part of their economy, including my electorate which is still recovering from the Millennium Drought,” Rebekha said.

“We need a nationally consistent approach to ensure that regional area is equipped to deal with the consequences of a changing climate.

“It is expected that the Future Drought Fund will, under the guidance of the Future Fund Board of Guardians, grow to $5 billion over the next decade while at the same time making annual disbursements of around $100 million.

“It’s important that the members of this committee have the right qualifications and experience, it’s also important that the membership is geographically diverse.

“Centre Alliance did not want to see the committee become a committee of east coast members and we were pleased that our amendment was passed with the full support of the Senate today.

“Australians want to support all our farmers to become more resourceful and resilient in the future.”

Rebekha’s speech in the House of Representatives is available here.