The impacts of drought are different to other natural disasters like fire or flood. Fires and flood destroy infrastructure where drought creeps up and depletes landscapes and bank balances of farmers and communities.

That's why the government's response needs to be different and it's often hard to quantify.

Recovery from a fire and flood can be measured by the rebuilding of houses or roads, whereas drought is about day-to-day financial survival.

State and federal governments each have responsibilities under national drought policy which has enjoyed bipartisan support since 1992 and was subsequently updated and unanimously agreed to last year after the Prime Minister's Drought Summit.

From a federal perspective our drought strategy is clear and it comes in three parts.

First, in the here and now, keeping people in business. This is through programs like Farm Household Allowance putting up to $37,000 into farming families' pockets' to pay for household expenses. Concessional loans that can save farmers up to $67,000 in interest per year or just providing additional Rural Financial Counselling staff to assist with paperwork, to name a few.

Second, it's about community.

Stimulating local economies through $1 million to drought affected shires to procure local tradies and materials from local hardware stores to build projects that leave a lasting legacy for the community.

There's also more than $30 million allocated to support communities with locally targeted mental health programs.

Third, it's about the future, to build the resilience of farmers for future droughts. For the first time in our nation's history we have a financial centrepiece to deliver that through the $5 billion Future Fund.

The Fund provides a $100 million dividend a year for specific programs targeted to build resilience in the good and bad years. It's complemented by things like instant tax write-off for fodder storage infrastructure and Farm Management Deposits. Tax preparedness incentives cost the Australian taxpayer more than $500 million per year.

All up, to date we've committed more than $7 billion to this drought with $2 billion of that available in the here and now.

But tackling drought is like going up a set of stairs. As the drought escalates you take another step up in your response and that's what this government has done and will continue to do. That's a National Drought Strategy in action.

Sadly, I've had a front-row seat of this drought as a local member.

Some parts of my electorate are going into year eight. Commentators on both sides of the climate debate need to think about whether they choose to weaponise the drought through their own philosophical views. People in drought don't care about the philosophy they want us to get on with it like they are.

That's why, in partnership with governments and farmers we are investing more than $1 billion a year to give them the tools to adapt with the best R&D in the world giving them better genetics and new resilient varieties of crops.

Throwing cheap shots from luxury seats is easy to do, but living among it and delivering is another. Federal and state governments all have a role to play in this and it's time we all focused on delivery, live up to each of our responsibilities and remember what's at the end of this - human beings.

Originally published in The Daily Telegraph