Drought And Resilience - Have Your Say Warrumbungle and Gilgandra

Gilgandra and Warrumbungle Shire Councils have received $200,000 in funding through the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program to develop the Castlereagh Country Drought Resilience Plan. 

The program acknowledges that we can learn from previous droughts and plan for broader community implications, and Gilgandra and Warrumbungle Shire Councils invite the community to have your say in the future implementation activities to support future resilience.

The plans will present:
• historical and predicted impacts of drought in each region,
• an evidence-based, triple-bottom-line strategy to mitigate or adapt to future drought impacts, and
• a prioritised list of actions and pathways to build drought resilience, specific to the region that addresses the needs of the community. 

The objective of these plans is to come up with practical solutions for addressing gaps in the way communities prepare for and respond to drought.

Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty said the program supports local councils to partner with regional communities, farmers, and industry to prepare for the future.

“As we move into hot, dry conditions it is vital regional NSW has the support to develop community-driven drought plans that work for their local areas,” Ms Moriarty said.

“The plans will support economic resilience and help manage drought impacts across a range of sectors and improve the way natural resources are managed in each region.”

Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Ambrose Doolan said the current dry conditions and the immediate past drought remind our communities that proactive work needs to be done. 

“Every drought is different, and every person has a different experience during drought. As a community and in this case a region, we need to start developing plans and approaches that guide the response and planning to proactively manage inevitable drought events.”

Adding, “Our communities rally together and respond in amazing ways when under the impact of any adversity. Drought creates uncertainty, impacts community and business confidence and moral and is often a prolonged event. We know these things, so this work is about understanding the opportunities to respond and deal with drought in a more prepared and resilient way.”

The development of the Castlereagh Country Drought Resilience Plan is underway and will involve stakeholder and community consultation as a key element.  

There are several opportunities for the community and key stakeholders to provide input. Community drop-in sessions and key theme workshops commence Monday, 27 November 2023.

The workshops will focus on four themes connecting the outcomes of the plan, and allow people to attend a workshop on specific areas of interest, including:
• Agriculture 
• Health and Wellbeing 
• Business and Economy
• Community Organisations / Social and Support Services

The workshops will be available to attend both in-person and online, and the sessions will include both Gilgandra and Warrumbungle Local Government areas.

Community drop-in sessions will be held in all towns and villages across the region, allowing residents to call in to discuss plans, ideas and aspirations.

Further, there will be an online confidential survey that community members can complete at a convenient time, or as part of these drop-in sessions. The survey will aim to capture the good ideas people believe worked well and can be improved upon, whilst also identifying opportunities and priorities for implementation of activities across environmental/agricultural, social/wellbeing and business support/economic areas.

The most recent drought of 2017 - 2020 saw much of the story across NSW captured in images and video and shared on social media. This image based storytelling united, inspired, and galvanised communities to act and support each other in what was the worst drought recorded in many places. Building on this, the community will further have the opportunity to share images or videos from a past drought event; it may be something that inspired or motivated and captured the resilience and determination that helped carry them or their community through the drought. The aim is to feature these images in the final plan to enhance its local feel and display the “real”.

Mayor Doolan encourages all residents to be part of the engagement with this program.

“We know that droughts can impact more than farmers, and the agricultural industry. It is businesses, families, and their ability to engage in sports, theatre or the arts. It is people’s health, livelihoods and their futures that, quite literally, become clouded in dust.”

“Being part of this proactive approach will result in activities and ideas designed to bring relief and build resilience into our community’s future.” 

Once plans are finalised, funding may be made available to regions to kick-start implementation of identified actions.

The program is delivered and jointly funded by the Department of Regional NSW and the Australian Government, through the Future Drought Fund, and started as a pilot with three groups of local governments. It is being rolled out in rounds with the NSW model for Regional Drought Resilience Planning program involving neighbouring councils working together to develop regional drought plans.  These locally focused plan will align with broader NSW and Australia wide approach to drought resilience planning and response.  

Regional Drought Resilience plans will be provided to CSIRO for independent review, and completed plans from across the country will be published on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website: https://www.agriculture.gov.au/agriculture-land/farm-food-drought/drought/future-drought-fund/regional-drought-resilience-planning 

If discussing drought impacts you, or those close to you, we encourage you to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Lifeline is a free 24-hour, 7 day a week service.

To register your interest in a session, visit
Gilgandra.nsw.gov.au or warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au 
Email castlereaghcountry@gilgandra.nsw.gov.au
If you are unable to attend, but would like to have a chat please give Council a call, or complete the survey via the link found at https://www.warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au/our-council/have-your-say/have-your-say-articles/castlereagh-country-drought-resilience-plan 

Your insights will help us create a vibrant and resilient Castlereagh Country region for all to enjoy.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Contact: Kathryn Larkin
Project Manager Strategy & Collaboration
Gilgandra Shire Council
02 6817 8800
Warrumbungles Drought Resiliance

Last Updated: 20 Nov 2023