• Improvements to FHA access and support commence today
• These changes continue the FHA reforms underway since the 2018 FHA Review
• FHA reforms will be complete on 1 July 2020 when the Business Income Reconciliation process is removed
Further new measures to the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) are now in place, making it simpler to access while improving support available to farming families still feeling the effects of the drought.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud and Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said changes to FHA over the last year bring more certainty to farmers and their partners around the support they can access during difficult circumstances.
“Since the 2018 FHA Review, my department has been implementing the recommendations of a farmer-led panel to modernise and streamline the FHA program,” Minister Littleproud said.
“We’re serious about walking the talk when it comes to backing farmers.
“Providing them with the right support in times of hardship is essential to the continued strength of our agricultural sector.”
Senator McKenzie said the changes would be welcomed by farming communities across Victoria including the north-east particularly for those also affected by the summer bushfires.
“We have listened to and acted on local and regional concerns to improve the FHA. For example, the assets test has been simplified to a single threshold of $5.5 million and there won’t be any differentiation between farm and non-farm assets. This ensures farmers aren’t penalised when they diversify their assets to manage risks.
“Instead of fluctuating payments, people whose income is under the threshold will now have the certainty of being paid at the full rate automatically, giving much needed certainty for farmers so they can focus on their business.
“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. And funds aren’t limited to farming; any activity that can boost income will be considered.
“These are all changes that can help our farmers on their path to recovery from challenging times. While there’s been welcome rain in many parts of the state in recent months, it will take some time for our farming communities to fully recover and the government is backing them along the way.”