OPINION: Pressure to prepare for future droughts

As I write this, I’m sitting in a workshop at the National Drought Forum in Rockhampton, Queensland, where stakeholders are being asked whether they think farmers are more prepared for the next drought than the last.

There appears to be general agreement that they are. 

If the room was full of South Australian grain producers, would the answer still be the same? 

The Federal and State governments are pumping tens of millions of dollars into drought preparedness through the Future Drought Fund – a cross-political (it’s survived both Federal Liberal and Labor governments) pool of money designed to better prepare farmers and community for dry times.

The question remains: For a grain producer, what’s the balance between preparedness and response? Government needs to plan for both.

Recapping on the workshop, the key stakeholders at the National Drought Forum were asked about feedback on how to improve preparedness for drought.

Many of the stakeholders said it’s about transformational change. A long term approach.

As one person said: pain forces change and drought is a significant pain trigger.

We know drought is coming. It’s a question of when, not if.

Our collective goal should be to reduce that pain for farmers and communities.

But if we get this right, there’s an opportunity to make generational change for the better. 

By GPSA CEO Brad Perry. This Opinion Piece first appeared in the Stock Journal on 28 September 2023.