Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences is the research arm of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Our mission is to provide professionally independent and world-class multi-disciplinary research, analysis and advice to inform decision-makers in this department, other government agencies and the private sector on significant issues affecting Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries.

ABARES has a wealth of expertise in applied economic and scientific research, developing innovative modelling techniques, undertaking comprehensive surveys and developing internationally recognised data management processes. The bureau also provides integrated socio-economic and biophysical analysis to address the policy issues facing Australia’s primary industries today and into the future.

In contributing to policy development, ABARES examines the full range of options potentially available to policy makers and, at times, may enter into public discussion on its research findings and on the consequences of different policy options. ABARES also takes a collaborative approach to research and policy analysis, working with external experts and partners, including the CSIRO and the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis.

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The receding waters of Lake Pamamaroo, in western NSW, in February 2019. Reduced water supply, due to lower rainfall and higher temperatures, has been the main cause of increasing water prices. Dean Lewins/AAP

Drought and climate change are driving high water prices in the Murray-Darling Basin

High water prices in the Murray-Darling Basin are blamed on foreign investors and corporate speculators. The simple truth is they are caused mostly by lack of rain.
The receding waters of Lake Pamamaroo which makes up part of the Menindee Lakes system near the township of Menindee, Thursday, February 14, 2019. Dean Lewins/AAP

Droughts, extreme weather and empowered consumers mean tough choices for farmers

Australia's farming industry will need to take full account of its obligations to its workers, its customers, society and the environment if it is to prosper in the years to 2030.
The development of drought insurance markets could be key to supporting farmers. Lukas Coch/AAP

Better data would help crack the drought insurance problem

While drought insurance schemes have produced mixed results to date, there remains hope for the future.
Policies such as subsidies for livestock feed risk weakening proper management incentives for farmers to plan for and adapt to drought. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Helping farmers in distress doesn’t help them be the best: the drought relief dilemma

We need to make sure well-meaning policy responses to drought don't do more harm than good.

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