June 11, 2020
More changes to the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) scheme came into effect on Thursday.
And Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said there would be more improvements from July 1, when the Business Income Reconciliation process was removed.
He said the new measures would make the FHA payment simpler to access and improve the support available to farmers and their families.
“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.
“We’re serious about walking the talk when it comes to backing farmers in times of hardship.
“We listened when people criticised the assets test during the FHA Review, and we simplified it to a single threshold of $5.5 million.
“There won’t be any differentiation between farm and non-farm assets when accessing the payment now.
“Farmers told the FHA Review Panel that fluctuating payments were confusing so we simplified that, too.
“From now on, people whose income is under the limit will have the certainty of being paid 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.
“Farmers and their partners will also now have access to a $10,000 Activity Supplement to get independent expert advice, undertake training, or gain new skills and qualifications.
“That’s more than double the previous amount. Funds are not limited to opportunities in farming—any activity that can boost income will be considered.”
Since the FHA was introduced in 2014, more than $459 million in payments have been made to more than 14,900 individuals.