Australia relaxes kangaroo protections as New South Wales battles drought

10 Agosto, 2018, 14:26 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • David Gray  Reuters            
                    A dead tree in a drought-affected paddock west of the town of Tamworth in New South Wales

"Well at least it proves that it can rain again that's one thing, but yeah, there' hasn't been enough", said dairy farmer Max Wake at Condobolin in New South Wales.

Suicide rates in rural regions are on average about 40 per cent higher than in urban areas, mental health group Sane Australia has said.

New South Wales officials released figures on Wednesday showing that every part of the state is affected, with nearly one-quarter classified as being in "intense drought".

More than half of neighbouring Queensland has also been hit, prompting Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister, to describe Australia as a "land of drought" at the weekend. Young farmers under 35 are especially vulnerable to stress and negative effects of droughts, researchers at the University of Newcastle said in a recent study.

"'There isn't a person in the state that isn't hoping to see some rain for our farmers and regional communities".

Late last month, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced over $1 billion in drought relief measures for struggling farmers during this dry winter.

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"The forecast suggests an increase of drier than normal conditions for the next three months across the majority of NSW but I want every farmer and community to know that we will stand with them through this challenging time and continue to make sure we have the right support available".

The state and federal governments have provided A$576m (£330m; $430m) in emergency relief funding.

"Many farmers are taking livestock off their paddocks, only to then see kangaroos move in and take whatever is left", Mr Blair said.

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.

Large numbers of kangaroos have been competing with cattle for food and water, a situation Blair said must be turned around "as soon as possible".

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