Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has warned farmers that in the future the Government will not provide drought relief unless they adapt their farming practices for climate change.
He said that the current policy ” is based on a model of a one-in-25-year drought and assumes rainfall will return to past seasonal conditions and does not factor in climate change”. He stressed that the Government would not abandon struggling farmers but said that it wanted a situation in which, every time a farmer sought relief, they would be better prepared to cope with a changing climate.
Phillip Glyde, head of the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics added that he had discussed the current Exceptional Circumstances assistance scheme with state agriculture ministers and obtained agreement to a wide-ranging review. The review would take into account the effect on farming communities and would not apply to farmers currently receiving Exceptional Circumstances assistance. He also said that the Government would offer more research grants for techniques to help farmers adapt to climate change.