Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Australia relaxes rules on shooting kangaroos during historic drought

Australia relaxes rules on shooting kangaroos during historic drought

"They are shooting their stock because they don't want them to suffer. They are shooting them because they just can't afford to feed them anymore", Tash Johnston, cofounder of Drought Angels NGO, told AFP news agency.

Many face the prospect of abandoning their homes altogether - some after being on the land for generations.

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

The regulations to shoot kangaroos have been changed after New South Wales was declared entirely in drought on Wednesday, with farmers having little to feed their livestock. Around 60% of neighbouring Queensland is also in drought, as well as parts of Victoria and South Australia.

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

The Federal Government has announced immediate measures to provide thousands of farms with up to A$576m ($430m; £330m) in relief funding.

The Government has responded with a compensation package to help rural communities, including two lump sum payments worth up to A$12,000 for eligible households.

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

"We are the land of droughts and flooding rains".

In a joint statement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud, said: "We will stand with Australia's farming families every step of the way as they cope with this devastating drought: listening, caring, responding and delivering". Sixty-one percent of New South Wales is in either drought or intense drought, and almost 39 percent is considered drought-affected, Department of Primary Industries maps show. At the end of July, the state government increased its drought assistance to more than $1 billion dollars.

Murrurundi, some 300 kilometres (186 miles) north of Sydney, has received less than 170 millimetres of rain this year and could run out of drinking water within months.

Grazier Mark Wylie has spent Aus$30,000 in the past six weeks boring for groundwater, to no avail.

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