Centrelink’s Dubbo Service Centre is opening its doors this Saturday to provide extra support to farmers in the severely drought-affected region.
Specialist staff from the Department of Human Services will be on hand from 10am to 12pm to provide farmers with personalised assistance to complete their Farm Household Allowance (FHA) claim forms and to connect them with other services they may be eligible to access.
Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan said helping communities battling the drought was a high-priority for the Morrison Government and farmers attending on Saturday can expect to receive ongoing support while the crisis continues.
“The support won’t end on the day – our network of Farm Household Case Officers provide ongoing assistance for FHA recipients to help them access other support services and develop action plans to get their farm business back on track,” Minister Keenan said.
“They will also help farmers to register for online services available through myGov so they can easily keep in touch with the Department, or even upload important documents without the need to call or visit a service centre.”
As well as Farm Household Case Officers, a Rural Financial Counsellor will also be available to offer free financial counselling and business tips.
Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said Saturday’s event will be a valuable opportunity for farmers to learn more about the support on offer to help them through the hard times.
“Unfortunately the drought continues to bite right across my electorate, meaning it’s vital that farmers have a strong understanding of the assistance that is available to them,” Mr Coulton said.
“The FHA claim form was recently simplified and the easiest way to apply is online. I strongly encourage local farmers to gather their paperwork and go along on Saturday, to receive personalised assistance from specialist staff and have their FHA questions answered.”
In August, the Australian Government announced additional lump sum payments for FHA recipients to help them through this extraordinary drought.
Two lump sum payments are available for eligible households, worth up to $12,000. Payment of the first lump sum commenced from 1 September 2018 and the second payment is scheduled for 1 March 2019.
Farmers and their partners can apply for FHA. However, farmers need to lodge a FHA claim before 1 December 2018 in order to be eligible for the first FHA lump sum payment. Claims lodged after 2 December 2018 may only qualify a farmer to receive the second supplement payment.
Further information can be found at: humanservices.gov.au/farmhouseholdallowance
Dubbo Service Centre
Saturday 22 September, 2018 10am to 12pm
Located at 64 Wingewarra Street, Dubbo NSW
Grant Taylor, Minister Keenan’s office – 0411 406 778
Anna Tickle, Mr Coulton’s office – 0400 050 729