Drought Policy

​​​The Australian Government’s approach to drought policy and programs is guided by two key documents:

1992 National Drought Policy

The 1992 National Drought Policy describes the broad context of drought policy​ in Australia and sets out the Australian Government’s overarching approach to the provision of support and assistance.

The objectives of the 1992 National Drought Policy are to:

  • encourage primary producers and other sections of rural Australia to adopt self-reliant approaches to managing for climate variability
  • facilitate the maintenance and protection of Australia’s agricultural and environmental resources base during periods of climatic stress
  • facilitate the early recovery of agricultural and rural industries, consistent with long-term sustainable levels.

Intergovernmental Agreement on National Drought Program Reform

The Intergovernmental Agreement on National Drought Program Reform (IGA) is an agreement between the Australian, state and territory governments that outlines arrangements for the implementation of programs relating to drought preparedness and in-drought assistance. The agreement is underpinned by the 1992 National Drought Policy.

The Australian, state and territory governments are working to deliver existing programs and develop any new programs under the IGA. The IGA aims to focus government support to encourage farmers to prepare for droughts and to manage their business risks, instead of waiting until they are in crisis to offer assistance.

While focusing on encouraging preparedness and self-reliance, the IGA also includes guidance on the provision of in-drought assistance.

A review of the IGA to assess its effectiveness was undertaken in 2017 by a working group comprising officials from all jurisdictions. Submissions received from industry stakeholders are available here. The Agriculture Ministers’ Forum subsequently agreed the review report.

The Agriculture Ministers’ Forum on 27 April 2018, agreed to extend the Intergovernmental Agreement on National Drought Program Reform. More information can be found in the Communique from the April meeting

For information on assistance available now, please visit Assistance Measures.

History of Drought Policy and Programs in Australia

For information on past drought policies and programs, please visit History of Drought Policy and Programs.