The Capital Food and Fibre Strategy will include a Regional Drought Resilience Plan (the Plan). The Plan will work with the broader community to identify and guide actions to building the ACT’s resilience to future drought, focusing on agriculture and related industries.
The Plan will collaborate with farmers and related industries to focus on innovative ways to build the drought resilience into the agricultural systems.
The Plan is funded in partnership with the Australian Government through the Future Drought Fund’s Regional Drought Resilience Planning program.
The climate is changing
The ACT is projected to warm to about 0.70C between 2020 and 2039 and about 20C between 2060 and 2079. Coupled with projected increases in frequency, duration and intensity of drought, this means we need to be well prepared to manage the impacts of drought and climate change on our region.
Farming and associated sectors need to prepare for future droughts
Droughts are a part of the Australian landscape. But under
climate change they will get longer, more intense and more frequent. So, the
ACT needs to be prepared, adaptive and resilient in the face of future drought.
The ACT has faced significant drought conditions in recent history, most recently during the 2017–2019 drought and the Millennium drought in the early 2000s. These have social, economic and environmental impacts.
We want rural landholders and supporting industries to tell us what support and initiatives they would like from the ACT Government to increase the Territory’s resilience to drought.
The Plan will identify ways to increase the health and wellbeing of communities affected by drought. When our farmers are resilient and have the tools and knowledge to enable them to continue producing during times of drought, their communities can be sustained long term as well.
Drought preparedness actions are happening across Australia
Farmers, communities, governments, businesses and not-for-profit sectors all have a shared responsibility to build Australia’s drought preparedness. Many activities are already happening, but more action is required.
CSIRO has identified drought resilience as one of its missions. Researchers are working on a range of projects to improve environmental, regional and agricultural resilience to drought, such as breeding crops better adapted to Australian conditions, developing precision agriculture techniques and improving water management.
Some regions near Canberra have already formulated their own plans, such as the Goulburn Murray Resilience Strategy. It is looking to increase resilience by, for example, promoting:
- Indigenous crop production to increase the diversity and flexibility in agriculture
- smart farming to promote change and diversification of farm businesses to adapt to shocks
- renewed rural skills connect to connect transformational farmers with those struggling to cope with changes.
The ACT Government has been delivering programs to increase drought resilience. Farmers have been able to apply for grants funding to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. In addition, the Farm Business Resilience Planning, jointly funded through Australian Government's Future Drought Fund and the ACT Government, provides training and coaching to build farm resilience, risk management and farm mentoring.
The Regional Drought Resilience Planning program will complement this existing work by focusing on future actions.
Building drought resilience
Drought resilience isn’t just about water. Drought has associated social, economic, environmental and wellbeing impacts. We need to build economic, environmental and social resilience to drought for our rural landholders and associated industries.
This is an opportunity for the sector and supporting industries to tell us how this should be done in the ACT and region.