September 24, 2019
South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell is urging more South Burnett farmers to apply for the Farm Household Allowance (FHA).
Council sponsored a Drought Community Outreach morning at Kingaroy Town Hall on Tuesday.
The event was attended by representatives from a range of government departments to explain the various supports they can offer to drought-affected primary producers.
And with the South Burnett looking down the barrel of its third year of being drought-declared, the event was popular. Parking in Glendon Street was at a premium most of Tuesday morning.
The Mayor believes there are a number of local farmers entitled to the FHA who are not applying for it.
“Some people may not be applying because they think they have too many assets, and some because they’re too proud to take government assistance,” the Mayor said.
“However, I’d encourage any of our primary producers who are doing it tough to take a serious look at this program.”
The Mayor urged farmers not to self-assess their eligibility but speak to a rural financial counsellor or Centrelink, who can assist with the application process.
The Mayor said he had grown up on a farm himself, so he knew from first-hand experience the toll drought can take, both physically and mentally.
“The worst thing about drought is that when you’re in one you never know when it’s going to end, just that it must end at some time.”
The Mayor said when the current drought finishes, he’d like to see the region’s farms get back to normal production as quickly as possible – for their own sake, and for the local economy’s sake as well.
If the FHA could help tide a farm over, he hoped more farmers would apply for it.