Regional Assistance Advisory Committee (RAAC)

The Regional Assistance Advisory Committee (RAAC) is an independent body that provides advice to the NSW Government on drought.

To redefine and strengthen the role of the RAAC, a new membership structure and Terms of Reference was put into place in 2016 to ensure that the committee continues to provide thorough independent advice to the NSW Government on impacts of drought, and the NSW Government’s NSW Drought Strategy.

The RAAC met on 21 February 2019 with discussions focused on the continuing dry conditions currently faced by many farmers across the state.

The Committee noted the positive feedback that was being received on the range of drought assistance measure that have been introduced including the additional funding provided for the Farm Innovation Fund which provides certainty of long term, low interest rate loans for farmers.

The Committee feels strongly that there needs to be a significant investment into reviewing the Government response to drought to be finalised within 6 months of a break in the drought to ensure lessons learnt are not lost and are implemented again prior to future drought circumstances.

RAAC encourages farmers to access the Drought Hub website for the full range of NSW and Commonwealth Government measures available to prepare for and deal with drought.

The RAAC will meet again on 23 May 2019.

Chair Andrew Locke Andrew Locke
Farmer Rep - South Andrew Carmichael Andrew Carmichael
NGO Social support Annette Turner Annette Turner
NGO Health Sue West Sue West
NSW Farmers Rural Affairs Sonia O’Keefe Sonia O’Keefe
Agribusiness banking Khan Horne Khan Horne
LLS Tony Hegarty Tony Hegarty 
NSW Rural Assistance Authority Robert BrownRobert Brown

RAAC members

Terms of Reference


The RAAC was established by the Minister for Primary Industries as an industry reference point for the NSW Government. It will provide a balance of views from farmers and non-government organisations on climate related issues affecting regional NSW.

Functions and responsibilities

The committee’s functions are to:

1. Provide input to the Minister for Primary Industries and NSW Government on:

  • The climatic situation in NSW and the impact this is having on regional communities.
  • When and where adverse climatic conditions are significantly increasing the vulnerability of rural communities or specific groups within those communities.
  • The relative priority and timing of introducing and withdrawing drought response programs and initiatives identified in the NSW Drought Framework.
  • Possible changes to improve the effectiveness or efficiency of existing State and Federal Government programs, where these changes are consistent with the Intergovernmental Agreement on Drought (IGA).

2. Undertake other tasks as directed by the Minister, where these are consistent with the NSW Drought   Framework.

Relationship to the Drought Interagency Working Group (DIWG)

The Drought Interagency Working Group (DIWG) is the Committee’s primary point of contact within the NSW Government. The DIWG has representatives from agencies involved in implementing NSW Drought Framework.

The DIWG Chair will provide guidance to the Committee on how to collect information and when to initiate consultation to understand the impact of climate conditions on communities.

Membership and Terms of Office

The Committee will comprise the following membership, with a geographic spread across NSW:

  • Independent Chair*
  • Farmer Representative*
  • Farmer Representative*
  • NSW Farmers Chair of the Rural Affairs Committee
  • Rural Assistance Authority Board member
  • NGO Representative* (rurally based, welfare and/or social support focussed)
  • NGO Representative* (rurally based with mental health focus)
  • Rural Financial Counselling Service Nominee
  • Local Land Services Nominee
  • Agribusiness Banking Representative (Australian Bankers Association Nominee)

*Nominations for these positions will be sought through advertising.

Members will be proposed by the DIWG and appointed by the Minister. They must have regionally based skills and/or knowledge relating to production, commerce, community and societal needs. Members will be appointed for a three year term. The Minister will advise the Resource and Land Use Cabinet Committee of all appointments.

Chair and Deputy Chair

The Chair and Deputy Chair will be appointed by the Minister, based on advice from the DIWG.

Removal of a member

Members may be removed by the Minister before the end of their term, on advice from the DIWG.

Conflict of interest

Committee members will bring to the attention of the Chair any conflict of interest or potential conflict they may have with any item on the committee’s agenda. Members will excuse themselves from discussions where they have a current or potential conflict of interest.


The Committee will meet at least twice a year. The DIWG may agree to the Committee meeting up to twelve times a year if conditions are other than normal (as defined by the NSW Drought Framework).

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