Expert panel to advise Future Drought Fund

Expert panel to advise Future Drought Fund

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Drought Minister David Littleproud.

Drought Minister David Littleproud.

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Government announces industry leaders to help it spend the $100m a year drought resilience fund.

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The federal government has named an expert panel which will provide advice on how to spend the $100 million a year from the Future Drought Fund.

Drought Minister David Littleproud today released the names of the Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee, which is tasked with advising the Minister on spending priorities.

The fund, which will deliver $100m a year in perpetuity, was the government's big ticket agricultural election commitment.

It was passed into law in July as soon as federal parliament was convened after the May 18 election. It will deliver its first round of funding in July next year.

Legislation demands that the agriculture minister of the day stick to an overarching spending strategy, called the Drought Resilience Funding Plan.

The Consultative Committee will consult with stakeholders and advise the minister on the plan.

The plan must target funding at drought resilience measures, such as research and innovation; new technology; environmental and natural resource management; infrastructure; and community initiatives.

When it comes to spending $100m a year, investments must be consistent with the Drought Resilience Funding Plan.

"To ensure best use of the Future Drought Fund, the Consultative Committee will seek input directly from drought-vulnerable communities for the Drought Resilience Funding Plan," Mr Littleproud said.

"This committee is made up of people with track records of success in agricultural economics, managing climate risk, rural and regional development and natural resource management."

The fund's spending must be published as soon as possible, and investment proposals can be disallowed by a vote in the Senate, and the House of Representatives.

The Consultative Committee's advice to the minister isn't expected to be published. But the Committee is independent and can release their advice independent of government.

After three years, the Productivity Commission will review the effectiveness of the Future Drought Fund.

The fund was created by re-badging the $3.9 billion held in the Building Australia Fund, which was established under the former Labor government.

Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee members

Chairman

Brent Finlay: Former National Farmers' Federation president will chair the committee. He has headed up Queensland representative group AgForce and Taprock Wool Association.

Committee members

Dr Wendy Craik AM: Climate Change Authority chairwoman, a former NFF executive director, author of the report to government on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act's interaction with agriculture, Australian Farm Institute director and Reserve Bank board member.

Dr Kate Andrews: Agrifutures director, ANU Fenner School for Environment and Society visiting lecturer, the Lake Eyre Basin Coordinating Group chief executive.

Dr Elizabeth Peterson: University of Western Australia Agriculture senior lecturer specialising in agricultural, environmental and fisheries economics.

Caroline Welsh: Birchip Cropping chairwoman, Goulburn Murray Water board member, and grain farmer.

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