Hunter councils to partner on vital drought resilience planning

Published on 21 February 2024

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A ground-breaking new drought resilience plan to be conducted by neighbouring councils in the Upper Hunter, will deliver an integrated, evidence-based strategy to build resilience, mitigate and adapt to future drought impacts across the region.

The grant for $450,000 from the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program, jointly funded by the Australian Government and NSW Government under the Future Drought Fund, will see Singleton, Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter Shire councils work together with their communities to develop and start to deliver the plan.

The draft Upper Hunter Drought Resilience Plan will present:

  • Historical and predicted impacts of drought for the region
  • An evidence-based, triple-bottom-line strategy to mitigate or adapt to future drought impacts
  • A prioritised list of actions and pathways to build drought resilience specific to the Upper Hunter, that address the needs of the community

The draft plan will be provided to the CSIRO for independent review before being published on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Regional NSW, Tara Moriarty:

Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty said the expanded program in NSW aims to help agricultural communities forward-plan to prepare for inevitable periods of reduced rainfall.

“This acknowledges each region in NSW is different and requires a tailor-made approach to drought preparedness to be truly effective. Having community-led Regional Drought Resilience Plans will help set them up for success.”

Quotes attributable to Mayor of Singleton, Cr Sue Moore:

Mayor of Singleton, Cr Sue Moore said the program's focus extended beyond immediate drought response, encompassing long-term planning and community-led solutions.

“The key objective of the plan is to come up with practical solutions to support our communities prepare for and respond to drought,” she said.

“Community engagement is a key element of this project, and this program really underscores the importance of customised resilience plans that cater to the specific needs and characteristics of each region.

“As a collective, Singleton, Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter Shire councils are absolutely dedicated to leveraging this grant to enhance our drought resilience capabilities, securing a sustainable and prosperous future for our region.”

Quotes attributable to Mayor of Muswellbrook Shire, Cr Steve Reynolds:

Mayor of Muswellbrook Shire, Cr Steve Reynolds said all three communities would be in a stronger and more adaptable position thanks to this investment into drought resilience planning.

“With hotter, drier conditions on the way in parts of Australia, it’s vital our region is equipped with the right tools to be more resilient to drought, and to bounce back quicker,” he said.

“The Upper Hunter area is unique, and our plan will be too – I look forward to our region coming together to share their experience and knowledge to build an integrated plan with locally tailored actions to prepare for future droughts.

“This plan is about our entire community - and not just our farmers - and how we can best work together to be resilient when the next drought inevitably arrives.”

Quotes attributable to Mayor of Upper Hunter Shire, Cr Maurice Collison

Mayor of Upper Hunter Shire, Cr Maurice Collison said the program identified regions in NSW to develop drought resilience plans that could be implemented by councils and their communities to manage future risks.

"Securing this crucial funding marks a significant step forward for our communities by allowing Singleton, Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter Shire councils to approach drought resilience proactively and collaboratively by integrating local insights and expertise into a comprehensive strategy that addresses our unique environmental challenges,” he said.

"This initiative represents our combined commitment to not just endure but also thrive in the face of climatic challenges — it’s about ensuring that our community's needs and voices are at the forefront of our resilience planning.

“This funding also reinforces our commitment to our agricultural sector by supporting the community through periods of scarce rainfall."


For more information, please contact:

  • Singleton Council Mayor of Singleton, Cr Sue Moore: 0429 002 431
  • Muswellbrook Council Mayor of Muswellbrook Shire, Cr Steve Reynolds: 0431 734 443
  • Upper Hunter Shire Council Mayor of Upper Hunter Shire, Cr Maurice Collison: 0407 232 552