SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — The Australian government announced measures to address the drought-stricken country’s situation.

According to Australia’s Department of Agriculture, drought can affect productivity and profitability on farms, but it is also an ongoing challenge for businesses, communities and regions within the country.

“We want to help farmers and rural communities prepare for and manage through drought,” the Australian Agriculture Department said. “So, they can pursue a prosperous and sustainable future.”

The Australian government’s Drought Response, Resilience and Preparedness Plan focuses on three themes:

  • Immediate action for those in drought, focused on measures to support farmers and communities facing prolonged drought conditions to keep them going until the drought breaks.
  • Support for the wider communities affected by drought.
  • Long-term resilience and preparedness to withstand drought periods in the long term.

GrainGrowers supports the aid for farmers across Australia facing poor conditions and the need to alleviate pressures on regional communities but are also pushing for long-term strategic measures.

“I welcome the government’s focus on the agriculture sector and efforts to alleviate the impact as devestating effects of the drought continue,” David McKeon, GrainGrowers chief executive officer (CEO) said. “There is still more work to be done as outlined in GrainGrowers key drought priorities. These have been endorsed by our National Policy Group who are grower representatives and include measures that can be taken to help manage current drought conditions and enable growers to prepare for when it does rain.”

The organization is hoping the Australian government will prioritize affordable, accessible loans for growers as well as support from the Regional Invest Corporation through the application process have been identified.

“Applying for loans must not be an added burden on growers during stressful periods,” GrainGrowers said. “Local government and small businesses are essential to farming communities and require support for a strong regional Australia to continue.”

GrainGrowers’ additional drought priorities include:

  • Relief from financial pressures of council rates;
  • Farm management deposits available to all farming business structures;
  • Wage support measures for farm workers that enable farmers to retain employees;
  • Government assistance to ensure an agricultural income protection market is fully established and available for growers by 2024.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the government to achieve our drought priorities on behalf of our grain farmers whose operations contribute significantly not only to Australia’s economy but frequently underpin the local communities where they are located,” McKeon said.

GrainGrowers is an Australian-based grain representative organization that includes 17,000 grower members across Australia. Goal of the organization is to build a better more efficient, sustainable and profitable Australian grain sector.