09/02/2017

Improving access to Farm Household Allowance across Wide Bay 

Farmers across Wide Bay will benefit from improvements to the delivery of the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) payment.

Federal Member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien said the Coalition Government is ensuring the FHA supports farmers in hardship to help them back on their feet.

“The Coalition Government is listening to farmers, we are speeding up the payment of FHA and accurately treating farm assets to improve eligibility,” Mr O’Brien said.

Amendments to the Farm Household Support Act 2014 have been introduced to clarify the definition of farm assets used in the running of their business, such as water assets and shares in a farming cooperative.

“These amendments ensure such assets necessary for the operation of the farm enterprise do not fall within the non-farm asset definition, which has stricter asset limits and can prevent some rightfully eligible farm businesses from receiving payment.

“This means more farm businesses in Wide Bay will be eligible to receive assistance, with farm assets, such as water, being treated in the same way as other assets needed to run a farm business, such as land and machinery.

“The legislation also removes the requirement to serve an Ordinary Waiting Period or Liquid Assets Waiting Period before applicants can receive payment. This will mean farmers in need across Wide Bay can receive payments at the earliest possible opportunity.

“The Coalition has acted and work is continuing to improve the efficiency of FHA application process by the Department of Human Services.”

The FHA is designed to help farmers meet basic household needs and aims to improve their financial circumstances, with the assistance of a case manager.

Before the Coalition Government introduced the FHA in 2014, there was no support payment generally available to farmers in hardship outside of the Exceptional Circumstances Drought Program.  Exceptional Circumstances was abolished by the former Labor Government which left farmers to starve if their businesses were in temporary hardship.

More than 7000 claims have been granted nationally since the FHA was introduced, giving farmers access to individual case support, activity supplements and income support.  For more information on the FHA visit www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance/farm-household-allowance