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The Australian government will provide a A$320 million ($289 million) assistance package to help farmers ravaged by years of drought across the east coast, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday.

With pockets of Queensland and New South Wales recording the lowest ever rainfall levels, farmers in the world’s third-biggest beef exporter have been forced to slaughter starving cows at record rates, pushing prices to lows, and adding political pressure for federal assistance.

“We can’t work miracles, there is no magic wand but we will do what we can to help in difficult times,” said Abbott. “Plainly for a large number of farmers right now, these are very difficult times.”