The gravity of the drought being experienced in Queensland and NSW has not been lost on anyone. In true Aussie spirit donations from around the country are rolling into help farmers experiencing hardship.
Drought is sadly a recurring feature in Australia and for more than two decades now the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments’ policy approach has been towards preparedness and resilience.
Our farmers are resilient, but there are times where they need a helping hand.
Since 2013, this Government has invested more than $1.3 billion in delivering support for our farmers.
In response to the recent dry conditions the Federal Government has stepped up with additional assistance. Farming families across Australia will receive immediate additional financial support to help them and their communities during drought.
Importantly, in drought, responsibility for animal welfare rests with the State Governments whereas responsibility for human welfare rests with the Commonwealth Government.
In that vein, the Coalition Government has announced two lump sum supplementary payments for those in receipt of the Farm Household Allowance (FHA). Farming families will now receive up to a total of $28,000 a year in assistance following a boost of up to $12,000 per annum to FHA for eligible households.
This financial support is to ensure farming households can continue to function in the face of drought or low commodity prices.
We have also increased the net asset threshold cap from $2.6 million to $5 million meaning thousands more farming families will now be able to access the FHA.
While South Australia may not be experiencing the severe drought conditions of Queensland and NSW, there are parts of Barker that are in significant rainfall deficit and will do it tough over the next 12 months. This support is here for them when and if they need it.
It is important too that our local primary producers remember that the FHA is not only for those experiencing drought.
Any primary producer who is doing it tough can apply. For example many in the Pork industry are experiencing tough market conditions and could benefit from FHA.
Raising the net assets cap for access to the FHA to $5 million will help farmers who have little cash flow.
Anyone who has previously applied for FHA and been knocked back due to assets should re-apply now that the cap had been lifted.
Please don’t self-assess. I encourage any primary producer in Baker to contact the rural financial counselling service to seek information about how these measures can assist. Rural Business Support has a freecall number 1800 836 211.