Australia relaxes kangaroo protections as New South Wales battles drought

An aerial view of the cattle feeding operation on the property'Toorawandi owned by Coonabrabran farmer Ambrose Doolan

The entire state of NSW is now impacted by drought, official figures show.

What caused the drought: Drought is not uncommon in Australia, but this year the winter in eastern and southern Australia was drier than expected and did not provide much needed water for farm lands, leaving farmers battling crop failure, water shortages and very little food for their animals.

This year's rainfall in the state has been the lowest total since 1965, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said. 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.

Who is affected: While the whole state has been declared in drought, the worst affected groups are the state's farmers and people living in regional communities.

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On Sunday, Malcolm Turnbull announced extra cash payments of up to $12,000 for drought-stricken farmers through the allowance.

The problem isn't confined to NSW.

More than half of neighbouring Queensland is also in drought, while parts of Victoria and South Australia are also experiencing dry conditions.

Farmers in NSW were spending up to A$10,000 per truckload of hay to feed their animals, he said.

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"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.

Farmers are already eligible for annual relief payments of up to A$16,000 each.

No, the so-called millennium drought of 1997-2005 is often cited as the most devastating - it ravaged nearly 50 per cent of Australia's agricultural land.

"What we have to is make sure we [the government] back them in when the times get as tough as they are now", he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation earlier this week.

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