From the department of everyone-knows-an-election-is-coming:
Prime Minister John Howard has announced more than $400 million in new funding for drought-affected farmers.
Mr Howard has extended exceptional circumstances funding until September next year for 38 drought-declared areas in southern Australia.
He says extra money has also been set aside for a large part of Tasmania, as well as Western Australia.
"We are expecting to receive from the Tasmanian and Western Australian Governments respectively applications for exceptional circumstances declarations," Mr Howard said.
"I'm making the interim declaration so that some of the assistance can begin to flow from those areas immediately."