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Keywords:

  • Drought;
  • drought policy;
  • climate change;
  • Australia

Drought is most often encountered as a long-running and recurring climatic extreme; one that can have devastating environmental, social and economic impacts. While drought is a routine feature of the Australian climate, the politics of drought are often highly reactive, and drought support programs are notoriously ad hoc and ineffective. In the context of emergent global recognition of climate change, drought has received renewed political attention that presents significant opportunities for change. In this paper, we review the context of drought policy in Australia. Yet we seek to provide a unique contribution to current debates by considering the perspectives of those people at the forefront of drought; in particular, those people living and working in small rural towns in drought-affected areas. The aim of the paper is to use a case study to present an account of drought policies and programs from those who are the targets of such interventions.