The worst drought in decades has hit 70 per cent of Queensland and has caused a live export crisis. More regions in the southwest are expected to be affected by the drought in the coming weeks.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced a $320-million drought relief package on Feb 26. Farmers in drought-affected areas will be given access to a five-year concessional loan programme worth $280 million. The assistance package will also provide mental health support.
Queensland farmers welcome the drought assistance package which may allow them to refinance their debts in the past year. Agriculture lobby group AgForce also thanked the Abbott government for the funds, but it also hoped for an increase in farm workers' wages and a low interest rate on the concessional loan scheme.
Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said the region is expected to get a greater portion of the funding.
Extreme heat levels expected in 2030 are already being experienced in Australia's capital cities of Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne. According to the report "Heatwaves, Hotter, Longer, More Often," the number of days with above 35 degrees Celsius temperatures have already reached levels previously predicted for 2030. Australians living in these cities get to experience what the normal temperatures will be like in 2030.
In January, Adelaide became the hottest city in the world with a temperature of 46 degrees Celsius, caused byAustralia's record-breaking heat wave.
The revelations came after the Climate Council released a report calling for more significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the frequency of extreme heat waves.
Meanwhile, Perth continues to feel the dry spell which peaked on Feb 23. Records in Perth revealed that the city had only 0.2mm of rainfall. The current dry spell in Perth reached another new record as Feb 19 marked the third-longest stretch with 0.2mm or less since rainfall records started in 1876. Australia's Bureau of Meteorology has no rain forecast for Perth next week.
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