NSW drought: Berejiklian open to asking army to help farmers

Federico Mansilla
Agosto 10, 2018

According to Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair, the latest drought update confirms what many farmers across the state have seen, with only 0-10mm of rain recorded over the past month in the Western, North West and Central areas of NSW.

Australia's most populous state is now "100 percent" in drought following the most intense dry spell in more than 50 years.

3 / 4 Farmers are struggling to feed their livestock.

But Ray Borda, president of the Kangaroo Industries Association of Australia, which represents commercial shooters who hunt kangaroos for meat and leather said: "Anybody on the land that will make a phone call to the Department of Environment can get permission to shoot nearly whatever they want to shoot and it's unaudited and unchecked and that's our concern animal welfare", Borda told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

"Many farmers are taking livestock off their paddocks, only to then see kangaroos move in and take whatever is left - this is the last thing any farmer needs at the moment", Blair said.

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The Federal Government has announced immediate measures to provide thousands of farms with up to A$576m ($430m; £330m) in relief funding. "We recognise that. It's a very volatile and often capricious climate and Australian farmers are resilient, they plan for drought, they are good managers but it can become really overwhelming", said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The sight of wide expanses of dry earth greets farmers every day around the state.

There has also been a growing national conversation about the mental health toll that the drought has had on farmers. In India, four indicators are usually applied to declare a drought.

He says over that time the climate has certainly changed with winter and spring rainfall becoming less reliable.

The federal and NSW state governments are providing more than A$1.5 billion (S$1.52 billion) in drought relief packages, created to offset the cost of feed and freight, and increase access to mental health services for farmers feeling the strain. Japan and Korea are suffering heatwaves and wildfires have blazed across California and Sweden.

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