Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton has helped to introduce improvements to the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) which will assist more farmers in his electorate dealing with the drought.
“As this terrible drought continues, so too does the support that this government delivers,” Mr Coulton said.
“We are extending farming families’ access to the FHA to four years in every 10.
“We will also lift the amount families can earn off-farm to $100,000 a year. This recognises the reality that much of the income earned off-farm goes straight to servicing debt and will allow farmers to count income from agistment against their losses.
“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 with decisions about whether they will be sustainable, should look at succession options or, in some instances, choose to sell.
“I’ve been travelling right across Western New South Wales hearing from farmers in my electorate about the impact of this drought, and some of the main concerns I’ve listened to will be directly resolved with today’s announcements.
“The government has listened to these concerns and realises that in a country of extremes, they may need to access FHA more than once in their lives.”
Mr Coulton said the improvements were being delivered as soon as possible to ensure farmers and their families could continue to get the support they need.
The FHA has been supporting Australian farmers since July 2014, during which time it has paid more than $365 million to around 12,700 recipients.
The Bill introduced to the House of Representatives amends the Farm Household Support Act 2014 and the Farm Household Support Minister’s Rule 2014.