Australia relaxes protections on kangaroos during historic drought

James Marshall
August 10, 2018

Much of Australia's southeast is struggling but the state government said 100pc of New South Wales' more than 800,000 square kilometres was in drought.

A crippling drought is ravaging vast tracts of Australia's pastoral heartland, decimating herds and putting desperate farmers under intense financial and emotional strain, with little relief in sight.

Unable to feed their livestock, many have been forced to sell or slaughter stock, sending the cattle industry into a decline that could take years to recover.

It is a scenario repeated across New South Wales state, where agriculture contributes more than A$15 billion (US$11 billion) to the state's economy annually, employing more than 77,000 people. Others have been forced to shoot starving cattle.

The US will subsidise farmers and buy unsold crops, among other measures; farmers growing soybeans, sorghum and wheat will get the most aid.

"This is tough, there isn't a person in the state that isn't hoping to see some rain for our farmers and regional communities", Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said in a statement.

The Bureau of Meteorology's latest climate outlook for the next three months is predicting high chances of warmer and drier conditions over the drought-affected regions.

The new rules will increase culling quotas and more shooters to operate under a single license, a government press release states.

The current drought on the continent extends beyond North South Wales, with over half of the neighboring state of Queensland also in drought, the BBC reported. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said earlier this week conditions were so bad that the country had to accept it was a "land of drought and flooding rains".

NSW Farmers' Association president James Jackson welcomed the government measures, but cautioned it was vital to ensure ongoing support, particularly to address mental health. "They didn't act fast enough", Col Barton, whose family has been on their farm east of Gunnedah since 1938, told AFP.

Southern Australia has experienced near-record levels of dry weather; rainfall has been 57mm below average for the time of year.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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