Barnaby Joyce

Improving access to Farm Household Allowance across New England

15 Feb 2017

 

Farmers across the New England Electorate will benefit from improvements to the delivery of the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) payment, which will make it easier for those who are experiencing hardship.

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said the Coalition Government wanted to ensure the FHA continued to meet its intent, supporting farmers in hardship to get back on their feet.

 

“This government is listening to the concerns of farmers and we have moved to help speed up the payment of FHA and more accurately treat farm assets for eligibility,” Mr Joyce 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, when assessing eligibility.

 

“The amendments address the issue of such assets, necessary for the operation of the farm enterprise, falling within the definition of non-farm asset, which has stricter assets limits and can prevent some rightfully eligible farm businesses from receiving payment.

 

“This means more farm businesses in the New England Electorate will be eligible to receive assistance, with farm assets, such as water, being treated in the same light 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 the New England Electorate can receive payments at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

“We have acted where we can in the legislation, 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 provides the opportunity to take steps 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,” Mr Joyce said.

 

“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 one-on-one case support, activity supplements and income support.

 

For more information on the FHA visit:

http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance/farm-household-allowance

 

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