Provide whole-of-government strategic leadership and advice on the government’s drought response.
Report to government on the appropriateness and efficacy of the Australian Government’s drought response measures by 30 June 2020.
The Agency’s report into the appropriateness and effectiveness of drought measures was drafted by the end of June 2020, however due to delays in receiving responses from targeted consultation and postponement of the Advisory Board’s June 2020 meeting due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Agency gained agreement to provide the report to government by the end of July 2020.
PM7) The Agency delivers timely and relevant advice to government in line with commitments
PM5) The Agency consults with stakeholders to understand their experiences, requirements and concerns
PM1) The Agency provides leadership to the coordination of assistance to affected communities
2019–20 Drought and Flood Agency Corporate Plan, page 14
2019–20 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements, under PM&C, page 74
ANALYSIS OF PERFORMANCE
The Agency provided formal monthly reports on the government’s drought response to the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management from January 2020. Through the advice provided, the Agency has communicated the changing drought situation on-the-ground, the status of Australian Government measures being implemented and any delivery challenges, as well as feedback from individuals, businesses and regional communities impacted by drought.
The Agency is providing leadership across the Australian Government by coordinating advice to the Minister across 11 departments and/or agencies, which are responsible for the delivery of 25 drought measures that make up more than $8 billion in drought support.
The Agency has held:
two meetings of the AGMIN Working Group on Drought (with state and territory counterparts, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) and the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA))
two meetings of the Australian Government Standing Group on Drought (with Australian Government agencies responsible for drought support measures)
one Minister’s Roundtable on Drought (with state farming organisations, the NFF, ALGA and the Australian Banking Association (ABA)).
Further, the RROs have conducted over 720 engagements in drought-impacted areas across the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania to ensure Agency advice to government is grounded in the experience and knowledge of those on-the-ground that have experienced the full impact of the drought. Visits to Western Australia and South Australia were postponed due to COVID-19.
The Agency has reviewed existing drought measures and developed a report for government that advises on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the drought response. To inform the Agency’s analysis and advice, the Agency wrote to 30 stakeholders for feedback, and undertook a detailed survey of Australian Government agencies on each of the drought measures. The information has helped identify opportunities to enhance the government’s drought response, which the Agency will work to address. The report is expected to be published following consideration by government.
Stories from the road
From L to R: Hannah Wandel, Chris Clark, Andrew Taylor (LLS), Shane Stone and Clare D’Arcy at the Bega NSW LLS Office
Coordinator-General, Shane Stone and Drought and Flood RRO, Chris Clarke met with Local Land Services (LLS) in Bega, NSW recently. LLS works with farmers’ networks and groups like SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture & Gardening Eurobodalla Inc), running drought preparedness and ‘how do you react to drought’ workshops.
Although there has been rain following the bushfires, it hasn’t been enough to replenish the soil moisture. The effects of drought and disasters don’t stop at the farm gate—we need to support towns and communities as well, which is why Chris spends time talking to people in the regions about what Australian Government assistance support available, to help people get through the tough times, and restock and replant once the drought breaks.