It is reform time for drought-hit Australia. On May 30, 2005, the federal government offered farmers an additional us $189 million, raising their total drought aid package to us $0.9 billion. Then, on May 31, 2005, the country's largest city Sydney, in New South Wales, announced fresh restrictions on water usage.
The farmers' package was announced by prime minister John Howard. It comprises increased interest-rate subsidies and extra income support and aims to prevent farmers from abandoning their properties and means of occupation. Sydney's restrictions include those on watering gardens and water theft. Heavy fines, to the tune of us $ 37,451, have been imposed. Exemptions to businesses like used car sale yards have been withdrawn. The state's utilities minister Frank Sartor said the enforcement could be stepped up, if necessary.
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