October 17, 2019
The Federal Government has proposed improvements to the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) scheme in a bid to help more farmers through periods of hardship.
The changes follow an independent review of the FHA.
Agriculture Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie said the changes, introduced in a Bill to Federal Parliament, would extend farming families’ access to the FHA from three years in their lifetime to four years out of every 10.
This recognised the fact that farmers experience hardships, including droughts, more than once in their lives.
“Our government has listened to farmers throughout the independent review and proactively responded to all the recommendations,” Minister McKenzie said.
“Today, the government introduces a Bill to provide drought relief for those who have exhausted their four years on FHA.
“The Bill will also allow for farmers to receive the FHA payment four years in every decade; make it easier for more farmers to access the payment by lifting the amount families can earn off-farm to $100,000 a year; and allow farmers to count income from adjustment against their losses.
“These changes reflect the nature of contemporary farming businesses – by recognising the reality that much of the income earned off-farm goes straight to servicing debt rather than putting food on the table.
“Our farming families don’t need to be worrying about how to pay the bills and feeding their families whilst they are struggling to feed their livestock and making tough decisions about their long-term future.
“A one-off drought relief payment of up to $13,000 for a farming family, and up to $7500 for an individual is designed to help people determine whether they will be sustainable, should look at succession options or, in some instances choose to sell.
“For the first time, we’ll link farm enterprises with their directly related businesses and consider income and losses together – not just income – a big change in how government support payments are provided to families.”