Press Release on Drought Program - Far North West Joint Organisation
Published on 20 January 2024
Barry Hollman, Chair of the Far North-west Joint Organisation (FNWJO) is excited about the launch of the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program across seven Councils in the Western Plains Economic Region: Cobar, Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett, Coonamble, Warren and Bogan Local Government Areas.
“This is our time to have our say on the effects of drought in our Western communities and propose strategies and actions that will be effective and cater to the needs of our communities. It is not very often that we get asked to participate in a “ground up approach” to find solutions to the problems we face.”
The NSW Model for Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program involves neighbouring councils working together to develop Regional Drought Resilliance Plans; taking learnings from previous droughts that will inevitably come and plan for future droughts.
“We manage our health by being proactive and having regular health checks, exercising and engaging in a balanced diet – we don’t wait for a health crisis like a heart attack before we start doing something.”
“Drought is similar – we don’t wait for it to be dry; the ground to be bare and stock to be dying before we start doing something.We need to be talking about drought preparation well before we start using the “D” word”.
“ We know and accept that drought is inevitable in Western NSW, we know that it’s only a matter of time so we need to get prepared with a plan of action.”
Councillor Hollman said the planning process will give a voice local farmers, communities, and industries to develop a plan with localised, realistic, and achievable actions to prepare for drought.
Plans will analyse historical and predicted impacts of drought in each region with the view to developing a triple-bottom-line strategy to mitiagate to future drught impacts. An outcome of the planning process is to identify actions and pathways to build drought resiliance activities that are specific to communities and address their unique needs
Councillor Hollman added, “Droughts between 2017 and 2020 are still very much in the minds of residents across the region who encountered considerable difficulties during that period – this is an opportunity to change the way we deal with drought in the future”.
“I urge everyone to take the opportunity to participate in the consultation process that will be rolled out between Monday 29th of January 2024 to Friday 9th February 2024 in our region. When the dates for the consultation are confirmed for your community, make a point of being counted”.
“The impact of drought is not limited to those in the agricultural industry but to the entire community. It’s important that all impacts of drought are considered.”
Community Consultation will involve face to face meetings, online survey or you can just make an enquiry, make a suggestion and share ideas by sending an email to email@example.com – if you’re interested in being involved, want to learn more and share some ideas, please reach out.
Councillor Hollman said the project was a great example of all tiers of Government working together to achieve a positive outcome for our communities and taking a proactive approach to mitigating the impact of drought which will undoubtably come all too soon.
The FNWJO lodged successful applications of behalf of Cobar Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett, Coonamble, Bogan, and Warren Shire Councils; resulting in the councils been grouped into two (2) consortiums based on their Functional Economic Regions.
- Consortium 4 - Cobar Bourke, Brewarrina, and Walgett Local Government Areas
- and Consortia 16 - Coonamble Bogan and Warren Local Government Areas
The project has two components; the first the development of a plan for each Consortia Group and the second to implement activities identified in the approved plans.
The program aims to build capability and empower regional communities to plan and act early to reduce and respond to drought risks. The program is designed to support the development of drought plans to consider amongst other things.
- Growing the self-reliance and drought resilience of regional communities including the agriculture sector
- Strengthening the wellbeing and social capital of rural, regional, and remote communities
The Regional Drought Resliance Planning program is jointly funded by the Australian Government and NSW Government under the Future Drought Fund.
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