Australia's most populous state entirely in drought

Lester Mason
August 10, 2018

The conditions in New South Wales state this year have been the driest and most widespread since 1965.

Smatterings of rain fell on Monday in parts of eastern Australia devastated by drought, but not enough to make a difference.

Australia's most populous state was declared entirely in drought on Wednesday and struggling farmers were given new authority to shoot kangaroos that compete with livestock for sparse pasture during the most intense dry spell in more than 50 years.

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) said that 61 percent of NSW is either in drought or in intense drought, while 39 percent is drought affected.

One of the driest winters on record has led to water shortages and diminishing food for stock across the state and Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said producers were facing "very hard decisions".

Farmers have told harrowing stories of failing crops, severe water shortages and being unable to feed livestock.

Less than 10 millimeters of rain fell in the state in July, the fifth-driest on record, putting further pressure on dwindling food supplies for cattle that can no longer graze on parched land. It was officially listed as "100 per cent in drought" on Wednesday.

The Bureau of Meteorology's outlook for the next few months shows below-average rainfall and hotter temperatures than normal, which will likely exacerbate the drought.

The State Government has announced more than $1 billion in drought relief measures, including transport subsidies, waivers on farming costs, increasing the Farm Innovation Fund, animal welfare measures and mental health support. Eligible households will able to apply for two payments of A$12,000 ($9,000) to help them get through the drought.

Frank McRae, chair of the Australian Fodder Industry Association, said the drought has left dire feeding conditions for the animals.

"Now we are the land of droughts and flooding rains, we recognise that", he said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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