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DROUGHT TIGHTENS GRIP ON QUEENSLAND AS RECORD 80% OF STATE SUCCUMBS

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DROUGHT TIGHTENS GRIP ON QUEENSLAND AS RECORD 80% OF STATE SUCCUMBS

Post by Harry on Wed May 27, 2015 9:31 am

Drought tightens grip on Queensland as record 80% of state succumbs

Total area drought declared is 80.35% of state, eclipsing the previous record of 79.01% in March 2014 – during the same drought

The remains of a dead sheep by the edge of a dry dam near Longreach, Queensland.

Photograph: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Joshua Robertson in Brisbane and agencies

Wednesday 13 May 2015 05.28 EDT

Last modified on Thursday 14 May 2015 06.45 EDT

Queensland is suffering the most widespread drought in the state’s history, as drought declarations spread across more than 80% of its land.

The state government has added another four council areas to the list of drought-declared areas following a patchy wet season and the weather bureau’s declaration of an El Niño event that will result in hotter and drier conditions.

The total area of Queensland that’s drought declared is 80.35%, eclipsing the previous record of 79.01% in March 2014 – during the same drought.

The state’s agriculture and fisheries minister, Bill Byrne, said one of the four new declared areas, parts of Mareeba shire on the Atherton tablelands, had not been in drought since 1979.

“While several coastal areas received good rainfall and are having their drought status revoked, I am declaring a further large part of the state drought-stricken, particularly in north Queensland,” Byrne said in a statement on Wednesday.

The other new drought areas were near the Gulf of Carpentaria: Burke, Carpentaria and Doomadgee.

Byrne said current drought funding would remain in place until 2018 and be reviewed “as necessary”.

The drought relief assistance scheme includes funding for farm freight and rebates for “emergency water infrastructure” alongside a $13m federal fund for the same.

The federal government has separately granted $113m in loans to Queensland farmers so far during the current drought.

Harry
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