Vol. 15 | No. 4 | November 2018

A new climate for drought policy development

Climate change is a reality that should be fundamentally changing the way drought policy is developed. Being prepared for and resilient to drought is a necessity in Australian agriculture. Avoiding drought-induced farm business financial crises - with all the flow-on effects to communities, mental health and the wider economy - must be the aim of responsible Government policy. However, simply saying that farm businesses ‘should be prepared’ without providing the tools and conditions to allow for preparation is not only ingenuous but also irresponsible, and will not reduce the number of people suffering hardship each time there is a drought. (more)



Pete Mailler, Goondiwindi grain and cattle producer and Michael McCormack, Leader of The Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister discuss drought resilience and preparedness. ► How should climate change alter the way we address drought policy? ► What sort of policy measures could make farm businesses more resilient? ► What practical measures could make farming practice and systems more resilient? ► What’s standing in the way of better drought preparedness policy? (more)


The AFI is currently conducting very timely research into risk management systems in Australian agriculture. While the research is not yet complete, there have been several learnings from the work to date. Building resilience and facilitating early intervention will involve a strategy that includes a range of Government and industry initiatives, affordable income insurance options, provision of weather derivatives and other financial tools. (more)


The imbalance between consumer perceptions and the reality of farming practice and the need to create best-practice evidence-based agricultural policy for Australian farmers were the focus of the Institute’s annual Australian Agriculture Roundtable held in October. While no ‘silver bullets’ were proffered, some clear points for further development emerged. An overarching theme from all sessions was the establishment of trust in an era of ‘truth decay’ and the maintenance of social licence. (more)


► At the National Drought Summit the Future Drought Fund was unveiled, with an initial allocation of $3.9 billion to grow to $5 billion by 2028. ► The Moss Review into live animal export regulation has identified systemic regulatory failings and recommended significant reforms. ► Two schemes that bring temporary farm workers into Australia are being amended after concerted pressure from farm lobby groups. (more)


There is an ever-growing divide between voters on the ground and their representatives encased in the ‘Canberra bubble’. This disconnect has often played out in issues of great import to agriculture. Labor’s tin ear on live exports is matched by the Coalition’s confusion on the National Energy Guarantee, but the divide between the rural sector and the ruling sector is exemplified by the climate change debate. (more)


The Australian Agriculture Roundtable was attended by over 160 agribusiness professionals and featured discussions on animal welfare, community trust, environmental policy, agricultural statistics and the right to farm. The Institute has been quoted in the media on a range of recent issues, including drought policy, energy price rises, the adoption of agtech, social licence, agricultural insurance and the National Drought Summit. (more)