Declaring and revoking a drought

Changes to drought assistance

You do not need a drought declaration to access the drought assistance program.

If you were drought-declared before 1 April 2022, you can either:

A drought declaration is an official acknowledgment by government that an area or individual property is affected by poor seasonal conditions.

In Queensland, a declaration can be either:

Drought criteria

The primary requirement is:

  • a rainfall deficiency in the last 12 months that is likely to occur no more than once every 10 years.

Other factors that may be also considered include:

  • pasture availability
  • ground cover
  • pasture response to rainfall
  • effectiveness of rainfall
  • soil moisture
  • water availability
  • frequency of supplementary feeding
  • livestock conditions
  • stock movements
  • stocking rates.

Area or shire drought declarations

The Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries makes area or shire drought declarations based on the recommendations of local drought committees (LDCs).

LDCs comprise local producers and representatives from peak industry bodies. The committees are chaired by climate risk coordinator staff from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).

Recommending a drought declaration

LDCs meet every year to review seasonal conditions, either at the end of the wet season or as required. An LDC will recommend an area or shire for drought declaration when that area or shire meets the drought criteria.

The Minister will review the recommendation from the LDCs and announce any changes to Queensland’s drought status.

The starting date of an area or shire declaration is usually the date recommended by the LDC. LDCs can then meet as required throughout the year as they continue to monitor conditions. An area or shire drought declaration remains in place until it is revoked.

Individually droughted property declarations

Primary producers who do not fall within an area or shire that is drought declared but who believe they are experiencing drought conditions can apply for an Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declaration.

Revoking a drought declaration

An area or shire drought declaration is only revoked by the Minister on the recommendation of a LDC.

The LDC recommends a revocation if it is confident that livestock have enough pasture and water to last until the next expected rainfall. In Queensland, this is usually the next wet season.

Primary producers may also revoke their individual property from an area drought declaration if they feel that conditions on their property have improved so that there is enough water and pasture to last a minimum of 12 months at normal or near-normal stocking rates.

When an area or shire drought declaration is revoked, any producer within the area who believes that their property is still drought-stricken can apply for an IDP.

Once the drought declaration is revoked, you may be able to access freight subsidy assistance for the transportation of animals for restocking and returning from agistment. However, you can access the drought preparedness program at anytime.