Drought Resilience for Local Communities

22 January 2024

Drought Resilience for Local Communities - Post Image

Councillor Barry Hollman, Chair of the Far North-West Joint Organisation (FNWJO), is excited about the launch of the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program across seven Councils in the Western Plains Economic Region: Cobar, Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett, Coonamble, Warren, and Bogan Local Government Areas. 

“This is our time to have our say on the effects of drought in our western communities and propose strategies and actions that will be effective to cater to the needs of our local communities,” says Cr Hollman.  

 “It is not very often that we get asked to participate in a ‘ground-up approach’ to find solutions to the problems we face.”

The NSW Model for Regional Drought Resilience Planning involves neighbouring councils working together to develop Regional Drought Resilience Plans; taking learnings from previous droughts that will inevitably come and plan for future droughts. 

Cr Hollman says the planning process will give a voice to local farmers, communities, and industries to develop a plan with localised, realistic, and achievable actions to prepare for drought. 

“Droughts between 2017 and 2020 are still very much in the minds of residents across the region who encountered considerable difficulties during that period – this is an opportunity to change the way we deal with drought in the future,” adds Mr Hollman.

“I urge everyone to take the opportunity to participate in the consultation process that will be rolled out between Monday 29 January 2024 -- Friday 9 February 2024 in our region. 

“When the dates for the consultation are confirmed for your community, make a point of being counted.

“The impact of drought is not limited to those in the agricultural industry but to the entire community. It’s important that all impacts of drought are considered.” 

Community consultation will involve face-to-face meetings, an online survey, or you can make an enquiry, a suggestion, or share ideas by sending an email to droughtplan@farnorthwestjo.nsw.gov.au

Councillor Hollman says the project is a great example of all tiers of government working together to achieve a positive outcome for local communities and taking a proactive approach to mitigating the impact of drought.


The FNWJO lodged successful applications on behalf of Cobar, Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett, Coonamble, Bogan, and Warren Shire Councils; resulting in the Councils being grouped into two (2) consortiums based on their Functional Economic Regions. 

  • Consortium 4: Cobar, Bourke, Brewarrina, and Walgett Local Government Areas; and
  • Consortium 16: Coonamble, Bogan, and Warren Local Government Areas.

The project has two components; the first is the development of a plan for each Consortia Group, and the second is to implement activities identified in the approved plans.

Plans will analyse historical and predicted impacts of drought in each region with the view to developing a triple-bottom-line strategy to mitigate future drought impacts. An outcome of the planning process is to identify actions and pathways to build drought resilience activities that are specific to communities and address their unique needs.

The program aims to build capability and empower regional communities to plan and act early to reduce and respond to drought risks. This includes: 

  • Growing the self-reliance and drought resilience of regional communities including the agriculture sector; and
  • Strengthening the wellbeing and social capital of rural, regional, and remote communities.

The Regional Drought Resilience Planning program is jointly funded by the Australian Government and NSW Government under the Future Drought Fund.


The Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program will focus on innovative ways to stem the impact of future drought on our region.

Everyone in the community is invited to attend one of the below workshops and help support actionable improvements to our region’s social, economic and natural environment.

Full details about the workshops can be found below. For more information, contact Drought Plan Project Officer Belinda Colless on 0428 281 678 or droughtplan@farnorthwestjo.nsw.gov.au


Drought Project Officer, Belinda Colless
Mobile 0428 281 678
Email droughtplan@farnorthwestjo.nsw.gov.au

Executive Officer, Ross Earl
Mobile 0409 362 307
Email eo@farnorthwestjo.nsw.gov.au

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