The evolution of drought policy in Western Australia

Page last updated: Thursday, 26 April 2018 - 12:53pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

What is drought? What are the effects of drought? And what role should Government play before, during and after drought events? Successive Western Australian Governments have grappled with these issues since the 1900’s.


Government drought policy is largely influenced by the prevailing climatic, economic, social and political demands of the time. 

The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of the evolution of drought policy and assistance in Western Australia (WA). The use of the term ‘evolution’ refers to the process of continuous adaption, growth and improvement of WA’s drought policy.

On1 July 2014, WA entered another important phase of evolution with the implementation of the new National Drought Program reform policy. This policy has been designed in response to various expert reviews and pilot programs and represents a positive step forward.

This reform will intersect with the re-introduction of Australian government funded in-drought concessional loans for farm businesses.  Social and economic commentators may continue to question whether the appropriate balance has been struck between the social welfare needs of farm families and the corporate responsibilities of operating a business.

This document acts a useful source of information about the various drought assistance schemes and policy decisions administered throughout WA's history and the rationale supporting them.


Contact information

Rural Business Development Unit
1800 198 231