A drought awareness program has recently been launched in Bundaberg, identifying key actions farming businesses can take to better prepare for, manage through and recover from drought.
Bundaberg CPA Australia and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry have jointly initiated the program for farmers and farming communities.
The project began in Bundaberg on Tuesday November 15, with CPA Australia and the department working with local accountants to develop a case study of how seeking professional advice can help farming businesses to prepare for drought.
It came ahead of National Agriculture Day which will be celebrated on Friday 18 November.
CPA Australia Senior Manager Business and Investment Policy Gavan Ord said the drought awareness program was opening up conversations.
“For farmers and regional businesses grappling with widespread floods, drought may be the furthest thing from their minds, but now is the time to begin preparing for the next drought,” he said.
“As we head towards the end of the year, we encourage businesses to speak with their advisors.
“It’s an ideal time to take stock and plan for future events.
“We are living in uncertain times both economically and environmentally. When crisis strikes it’s too late to prepare.”
Gavan said governments could provide some support to those affected by drought and hardship but farmers and other local businesses must prepare themselves.
“Local CPAs are at the forefront of advising farming businesses how to manage financial risks, including managing risks from drought. Your accountant can work with you to ensure your farm or business is well prepared,” he said.
“Through this joint program with the Federal Government, CPA Australia is giving accountants and their clients the tools they need to plan for the next drought.”
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Assistant Secretary, Drought Policy Courtney Bryant said the program was building awareness and knowledge amongst professional advisors in supporting farm businesses through drought and other hardships.
“Our team is in Bundaberg this week as part of this work,” she said.
“We are working with on the-ground-networks, research bodies and professional advisor groups, including accountants, to build their understanding of how businesses can prepare for, manage through and recover from drought.”
CPA's top five tips for planning for a drought:
- Seek professional advice early to understand your position and risks.
- Undertake a business health check. This is essential to a plan for how you will manage when drought occurs.
- Include actions with completion dates in your drought preparation plan and ensure they are undertaken. Revisit your plan regularly.
- If you feel concerned about your business, don’t wait to seek advice – the earlier you seek advice, the more options you will have.
- Look after your mental health and keep an eye out for others.
Find out more about CPA here.