Farmers in Australia get greater powers to kill kangaroos amid drought

NSW drought

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.

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". It was officially listed as "100 per cent in drought" on Wednesday.

Australia's prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has unveiled a package of measures to assist farmers coping with the conditions.

The amount includes the $576 million in emergency relief funding provided by the state and federal governments. In New South Wales state, agriculture contributes more than AU$15 billion (€9.6 billion, $11.1 billion) to the state's economy annually and employs more than 77,000 people.

New South Wales primary industries minister Niall Blair said farmers were enduring one of the driest Southern Hemisphere winters on record.

The combineddrought indicator - which takes in rainfall, soil water, plant growth and long term climate data - shows no part of NSW is recovering despite some recent rain.

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The government would have been better off subsidising professional shooters to reduce kangaroo numbers more humanely, he said.

Australia has long dealt with harsh, dry conditions, especially inland, away from coastal areas popular with tourists.

The drought has hit farmers particularly hard, with crop, water, and fodder shortages putting their livelihoods at risk.

Much of Australia's southeast is struggling with drought. Eligible households will able to apply for two payments of A$12,000 ($9,000) to help them get through the drought.

Heatwaves swept across Europe in July, leaving some farmers suffering drought conditions.

Global average temperatures are around 1°C higher than in the pre-industrial age, and rising at 0.17°C per decade, scientists say.

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