Deloitte wins bid for Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool

22 March 2021 2 min. read
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Deloitte is helping the Australian Government develop a digital tool that can help farmers anticipate, mitigate and navigate periods of drought. The 18-month contract is effective from mid-February, and is worth just over $3.1 million.

Australia’s Ministry for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management announced the launch of the tool in October 2020, inviting bids from the consulting world to deliver technical and strategic support. Bidding ran through December, and Deloitte emerged as the partner of choice.

Risk specialists and digital experts from the Big Four accounting and advisory firm will now work with farmers across Australia to design the Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool (DR SAT) – a key pillar for agriculture at a time of climate volatility.

Deloitte wins bid for Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool

“The tool will enable farmers to self-assess their resilience against a range of environmental, economic and social indicators, as well as identify their future risk exposure under climate scenarios,” noted David Littleproud, Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Drought & Emergency Management.

“It will assist farmers to make climate-smart business decisions and identify management approaches that can improve their resilience to drought.” Australia has lost nearly 30% of its agricultural output in the last five decades according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics – largely owing to dry conditions.

In July last year, the government announced the Future Drought Fund – a total sum of $5 billion in farmer support, to be made available in $100 million yearly installments. The $3 million DR SAT project is among the beneficiaries of this fiscal support.

“While our farmers are highly skilled at managing climate variability, the intensity and frequency of drought is a challenge that requires additional support,” stressed Littleproud. Indeed, recurring drought is one of the economically devastating challenges coming out of climate change.

A Deloitte report from late last year estimated that climate change could cost the Australian economy more than $3 trillion in the lead up to 2070, if left unchecked. The Future Drought Fund – and specifically DR SAT – represent myriad efforts underway to curb this damage.

In months to come, experts and primary producers will work to ensure DR SAT has practical relevance. The contract runs officially till June 2022 – with a prototype for user testing expected in June 2021, while the fully functional tool will be piloted across various regions by December 2021.

For Littleproud, Deloitte is the right consultant to lead the charge. “Deloitte is global leader in climate risk advisory, scenario analysis, economics and digital innovation, including digital decision support. It has significant experience providing analysis and advice to Australian agribusinesses.”