More farmers will be able to access vital assistance when they are going through tough times, with the Coalition Government today introducing legislation to maintain the net farm asset threshold for Farm Household Allowance (FHA) at $5 million.
Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie, said the Government was delivering on its election commitment to keep the asset test increase and make the FHA available to more farmers.
“Australian farmers are very resilient, but like everyone else there are times when they need additional support,” Minister McKenzie said.
“The FHA is in place to help farmers facing hardship, particularly during drought, to implement plans to improve long-term financial circumstances and assess their options.
“Last year the Government temporarily increased the cap from $2.6 million to $5 million to support farmers affected by the current drought who were in financial difficulties, but were notionally asset rich.
“The change was temporary, pending the FHA Review, which ultimately recommended making the temporary increase permanent.
“This increase allows farmers to access support without having to jeopardise the income-producing capacity of their farm by selling farm equipment.
“It also recognises that farm assets can be difficult to sell quickly and, during tough times, are often sold for less than they're worth.
“Increasing the asset threshold to $5 million increases the potential pool of FHA recipients by approximately 8,000 additional farmers.
“The changes introduced today build on the extension of the time farmers and their partners will be able to receive FHA from three to four cumulative years.”
Farmers should not guess at whether they're eligible for FHA. For eligibility, 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. Any farmers experiencing financial hardship should get in touch with their local Rural Financial Counselling Service who can help work through available options.