This report presents one of a series of reports for the project that explore the context, policy and management of drought and water resources in China and Australia. The report will contribute to a plan for collaboration between the project partners: ABARES and China's Remote Sensing Technology Application Center. This report details the Australian context of drought policy and management.
The report asserts that the agriculture in Australia has had a long history of dealing with drought. Australian farmers manage drought in a number of ways, including diversifying their production risks, building reserves for when conditions are unfavourable and increasing or decreasing their production based on climatic conditions. However, there are times when severe drought is considered by government to be outside of the scope of 'normal' risk management. In these 'exceptional circumstances', government intervention may be warranted in order to keep viable farmers on the land. This document explores the context of drought in Australia, the evolution of Australian drought policy and the role of government in providing information to help manage climate risks.