The Future Drought Fund can play an important role in assisting the Australian agricultural sector to prepare for the effects of drought and a changing climate.
The Productivity Commission today released an interim report – Review of Part 3 of the Future Drought Fund Act. The report invites further views on the Commission’s initial findings and recommendations on ways to improve the operation and design of the Future Drought Fund (FDF).
“We think the FDF can build on its first four years to deliver on its ambition, with some changes to design and strategy,” said Commissioner Joanne Chong.
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 were stood up quickly, supported short-term initiatives and could have been better integrated with each other.
“The Future Drought Fund aims to build resilience to drought but short-term programs operating in isolation will struggle to deliver this,” said Commissioner Chong.
The Fund is more likely to generate lasting, impactful change through programs that are 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.
“The fund should explicitly recognise that drought is one part of the broader challenge to communities and agriculture that climate change represents. We cannot effectively build drought resilience in isolation from the other consequences of a changing climate,” said Commissioner Malcolm Roberts.
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: www.pc.gov.au.
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