Local MP speaks up in Canberra for the regions' farmers

Farmers across the Riverina and Central West will benefit from improvements to the delivery of the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) payment, which will make it easier for those who are experiencing hardship.

The Nationals’ Member for Riverina and Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack, said the Coalition Government wanted to ensure the FHA continued to meet its intent, supporting farmers in hardship to get back on their feet.

“After listening to the concerns of farmers across the electorate, I recently spoke in support of these changes in the Parliament and am proud to be part of the Nationals’ team in government, moving to help speed up the payment of FHA and more accurately treat farm assets for eligibility,” Mr McCormack said.

“Amendments to the Farm Household Support Act 2014 are progressing through the Parliament and will clarify the definition of farm assets used in the running of farming operations, such as water assets and shares in a farming cooperative, when assessing eligibility.

“The amendments address the issue of such assets, necessary for the operation of the farm enterprise, falling within the definition of non-farm asset, which has stricter assets limits and can prevent some rightfully eligible farm businesses from receiving payment.

“This means more farm businesses in the Riverina and Central West will be eligible to receive assistance, with farm assets, such as water, being treated in the same light as other assets needed to run a farm business, such as land and machinery.

“The legislation also removes the requirement to serve an Ordinary Waiting Period or Liquid Assets Waiting Period before applicants can receive payment. This will mean farmers in need can receive payments at the earliest possible opportunity.

The FHA is designed to help farmers meet basic household needs and provides the opportunity to take steps to improve their financial circumstances, with the assistance of a case manager.

More than 7000 claims have been granted nationally since the FHA was introduced, giving farmers access to one-on-one case support, activity supplements and income support.

For more information on the FHA visit www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance/farm-household-allowance or to view Mr McCormack’s speech in the Parliament visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y9JAvNB6bs

Cristy Houghton