New changes to improve drought support measure for farmers

Drought
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Farmers across the Hilltops region are encouraged not to self-assess their eligibility for drought financial support as new changes to the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) come into effect.

The changes are designed to make the FHA payment simpler to access and improve the support available to farmers and their families.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said changes to the FHA over the last year bring more certainty to farmers and their partners around the support they can access during difficult times. “Since the 2018 FHA Review, my department has been working closely with Services Australia to implement the recommendations of a farmer-led panel to modernise and streamline the FHA program,” Minister Littleproud said.

The assets test has now been simplified to a single threshold of $5.5 million, with no differentiation between farm and non-farm assets when accessing the payment. The fluctuation in the amount of the payments has also been changed, so farmers whose income is under the limit will receive the full rate automatically.

“Furthermore, we’re expanding the support farmers have to make necessary changes to their businesses by including farm consultants and Rural Financial Counsellors among the professionals who can complete Farm Financial Assessments,” said Minister Littleproud.

Funding through the Activity Supplement has also been doubled, with farmers and their partners having access to $10,000 to seek independent expert advice, undertake training, or gain new skills and qualifications.

“We made all these changes to help farmers and their partners on their path to recovery. We’re proud of Australia’s farmers and all they do to maintain our food security and our reputation among the world’s greatest producers of food and fibre. Providing them with the right support in times of hardship is essential to the continued strength of our agricultural sector,” said Minister Littleproud.

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