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Farm household allowance amended to assist during drought

Editorial
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The Coalition Government recently passed legislation to amend the Farm Household Allowance to help farmers in drought.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the changes will deliver the $12,000 FHA supplement from 1 September for couples and $7,200 for singles.

This brings the total payment for a couple to around $37,000 and to around $22,000 for a single.

The changes will also lift the FHA net asset threshold cap from $2.6 million to $5 million from 1 September.

"We're working full tilt get this support out the door as soon as possible," Mr Littleproud said.

"The increase to the net asset threshold potentially means about 8,000 extra farmers will soon be eligible for the FHA. The Department of Agriculture estimates 27,000 farmers are potentially eligible for FHA and have not applied.

"Farmers should not guess at whether they're eligible for FHA. They should see a Rural Financial Counsellor.

"We recently announced an extra $5 million for the Rural Financial Counselling Service to support increased demand so please get advice from the free service.

"Farmers already on FHA will not have to apply for the extra payments - it will be paid automatically. The threshold changes will stay in place to 30 June 2019, with the review of FHA due in early 2019.

"Importantly, if you qualify under these new arrangements and your circumstances do not change, you can stay on payment after 30 June, even if the asset limit decreases.

"I ask that farmers bear with us while the Department of Human Services implements the necessary changes to give effect to the threshold changes, which I expect to be completed by 1 October this year."

The changes build on the Coalition Government's extension of FHA from three to four cumulative years.

For eligibility please seek advice from the free Rural Financial Counselling Service on 1800 686 175 or the Department of Human Services Farmer Assistance Hotline on 13 23 16.

For more information, visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance

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