Drought in southeast Australia worsens

Heidi Taylor 7 kicks up dust on the family farm outside Coonabarabran in New South Wales

Heidi Taylor 7 kicks up dust on the family farm outside Coonabarabran in New South Wales

The Australian Government have stepped in to offer a subsidy to struggling farmers to tide them over until the drought breaks.

The state government said that 100 per cent of New South Wales' land area of more than 800,000 square kilometres was now in drought.

The entire state is now in drought, according to the latest seasonal update, Department of Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair confirmed in a news release Wednesday that Sydney radio station 873AM posted to Twitter.

The US will subsidise farmers and buy unsold crops, among other measures; farmers growing soybeans, sorghum and wheat will get the most aid. "There isn't a person in the state that isn't hoping to see some rain for our farmers and regional communities", he said.

State and federal governments are providing financial help, but not enough for many farmers. But it's not enough for many farmers.

It remains a legal requirement for individuals to obtain a licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to shoot kangaroos, however moving to an online system will take away the time-consuming task of having to pick up tags and then having to tag the animal in the paddock.

"If we don't manage this situation, we will start to see tens of thousands of kangaroos starving and suffering, ultimately leading to a major animal welfare crisis".

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But Ray Borda, president of the Kangaroo Industries Association of Australia, which represents commercial shooters who hunt kangaroos for meat and leather, raised animal welfare concerns about the regulation changes.

"This is probably the worst possible outcome for the kangaroo, but we do understand the plight farmers are in", Mr Borda added.

In some regions, water restrictions have been tightened to the point that residents can only do a maximum of two loads of washing a week and take three-minute showers.

"If our Australian friends can grab a cheap seat on a plane and just escape the drought headspace for a couple of days, or weeks, and rest up in New Zealand, that could do wonders for their mental health".

In the last month, the state has seen less than half an inch of rain.

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

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