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Intergovernmental Agreement On National Drought Program Reform

The country`s current research program is adapted to the need to strengthen approaches to climate risk management for industry and to support adaptation and transformation. Studies by CSIRO, ABARES and national governments, as well as projects commissioned by THE DRCs, are studying the impact of climate change on Australian agriculture. CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have jointly developed Australia`s next-generation climate model: the Australian Community and Earth System Climate Simulator (ACCESS), which provides weather forecasts, cyclone monitoring, fire weather forecasts, flood warnings and climate information (CSIRO, n.d.). CSIRO has also conducted research specifically aimed at improving drought response capabilities, including research on precision agriculture, the development of drought-tolerant plants and the development of new cropping practices. One of the instruments highlighted is the „Pastures from Space” project, which uses satellite data to estimate pasture biomass and facilitates operational decision-making on sustainable feed resource management (CSIRO, 2019). The ABARES reports also contributed to the national dialogue, notably by highlighting the impact of climate on farm productivity (Hughes, Lawson and Valle, 2017). Federal governments also fund climate change research and identify potential local impacts in their own regions. The DRC`s work has analysed the effects of climate change on different industrial sectors. One initiative to improve resilience is the eight-year Rural Research and Development Programme allocates AUD 154.4 million to DRC funding to coordinate research at the national level for the benefit of all manufacturers. All of these research initiatives, combined with other programs, help producers improve their resource management to adapt to volatile climate conditions. Finally, the general political environment is also relevant to strengthen the sector`s resilience to drought.

Other programs aimed at sustainability and long-term land improvement are likely to have additional benefits for drought resilience. Many of these projects are funded by Phase 2 of the National Soil Maintenance Program, which from 2018/19 to mid-2023 allocates AUD 1 billion to partnerships with governments, industry, local communities and individuals to support natural resource management and sustainable agriculture. Two programmes for agriculture, funded directly by landcare, include auD 34 million in four-year agricultural financing (which includes grants to farmers to encourage the introduction of improved biodiversity practices) and AUD 55 million Smart Farms Small Grants (which funds the implementation of sustainable agricultural projects and the implementation of good natural resource management practices and continues until 2022/23).