Changes made to Farm Household Allowance makes access easier
SINCE its inception, the Farm Household Allowance has resulted in 14,900 people in need receiving over $459 million in financial assistance.
Now, new measures to improve the FHA program are in effect.
These changes make the FHA payment simpler to access and improve the support available to farmers and their families.
Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Minister 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,” Mr 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.”
Changes were made to the allowance based on feedback from recipients who called on the Government to make the process easier.
“Farmers told the FHA Review Panel that fluctuating payments were confusing so we simplified that, too,” Mr Littleproud said.
“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.
“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.”