The Government will again seek to establish a new, secure, revenue stream to enable drought resilience, preparedness and recovery. The Government will re-introduce legislation to establish the Future Drought Fund (the Fund), which will grow to be worth $5 billion to support rural and regional communities.

In February, Labor abandoned Australian farmers and the rural and regional communities they support by voting against the Future Drought Fund. This despite their own Senators clearly supporting the Bill during the Senate committee inquiry into it.

Labor now have a second chance to do the right thing by Australian communities that are suffering the effects of drought by supporting this important legislation.

Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said that the Fund would guarantee a long-term source of funding to support important projects that will build drought resilience in Australia’s regions.

“The Future Drought Fund will support research, development and innovation to contribute to a sustainable and drought resilient agriculture sector in Australia,” Minister Littleproud said.

“If Labor decide to vote against this Bill again it will be one of the lowest acts I’ve seen in Australian politics. To politicise the misery of Australian farmers would be as low as you could get.”

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said that Labor needed to support the legislation, which would provide reliable and sustainable funding for drought relief and resilience projects into the future.

“The Future Drought Fund was announced in the 2018-19 MYEFO. We took it to the 2019 election. Labor needs to respect the wishes of Australia’s regional farming communities and support this legislation,” he said.

The re-introduced legislation includes amendments proposed in the House of Representatives by the former Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan, and supported by Government and other Members of the House of Representatives crossbench.

The exposure drafts of the Future Drought Fund Bill 2019 and the Future Drought Fund Bill (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 and the accompanying draft Explanatory Memorandum are publicly available at https://www.finance.gov.au/australian-government-investment-funds/governance/.