Australia's Drought Worst in a Millennium

The Australian government provides more drought relief as a key advisor says conditions are worst in 1,000 years.

Australian government officials at an emergency water crisis summit in Canberra have agreed to fast-track a national water trading system to manage water supplies during a drought a key scientific advisor says is the worst in 1,000 years.

Prime Minister John Howard and state officials agreed on terms for water trading to begin nationally in January, with New South Wales and Victoria beginning Friday.

More than 50% of the nation's agricultural land has been drought-declared, and the drought is expected to cut 0.7% off of the nation's gross domestic product for 2006.

The Australian government has given more than A$2.3 billion in relief for this year's extreme weather.

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