The Federal Government has announced the country is drought free for the first time in over a decade after the two final Exceptional Circumstances (EC) declarations expire.


Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig said the expiry of EC declarations in Bundarra and Eurobodalla marks a major milestone for agriculture in Australia.


“Now is the time to progress drought reform. We need to take this opportunity to transition from reacting to crises, to a pro-active policy approach that prepares our farmers for the future,” Senator Ludwig said.


The Federal Government is working with State and Territory Governments to progress new drought policy, with reform a key topic for discussion at the first Standing Council on Primary Industries meeting held in Adelaide.


“As previously agreed with State and Territory Ministers, and recommended by the review of pilot drought reform measures in Western Australia, our reform will see a national framework introduced which focuses on risk management and preparedness, rather than on crisis management,” Senator Ludwig said.


“A major step toward that framework will be phasing out the EC interest rate subsidy, which given the end of the final two EC declarations, will conclude on 30 June this year.”