David Littlerpoud MP David Littlerpoud

DROUGHT RELIEF

Since 2013, this Government has invested more than $1.8 billion in delivering support for our farmers. The Federal Government is focused on supporting families. The State Government prioritises freight and fodder.

At my drought round table recently, I said to the banks: Time is up. Banks have made millions-of-dollars from farmers and it’s time for banks to help farmers be sustainable going forward. I’m glad the banks have heard the message on this and acted.

I would urge and encourage farmers to seek help and find out what assistance they may be eligible for.

LATEST UPDATE

FARM HOUSEHOLD ALLOWANCE (FHA)

  • Supplementary payment of $12,000 per couple and $7,200 for a single – This brings the total payment for a couple to around $37,000 and to around $22,000 for a single.
  • Increase net asset threshold cap from $2.6 million to $5 million.
  • The FHA assets tests will be changed to allow thousands more farmers to access support.
  • Households eligible for the FHA – a fortnightly payment totalling around $16,000 a year to help farming families in tough times – will receive two additional lump sum payments on 1 September 2018 and 1 March 2019.

FARM MANAGEMENT DEPOSITS

  • The Coalition doubled the amount farmers could set aside from their taxable income and hold in Farm Management Deposits to $800,000 and changed the law to allow them to be used as offsets against a farmer’s mortgage.
  • Following the Government led drought roundtable in July, NAB, CBA, Rabobank, Westpac and ANZ have now agreed to allow farmers to use the FMD as an offset against their loan, reducing their interest payments.

RIC CONCESSIONAL LOANS

  • Doubling amounts available to farmers from $1 million to $2 million.
  • Could save farmers tens-of-thousands of dollars in interest each year.
  • Government has delivered $464 million to 813 farm businesses in drought concessional loans to date.

RURAL FINANCIAL COUNSELLING SERVICE

  • An extra $5 million in the Rural Financial Counselling Service, which will provide additional support for farmers – particularly those applying for the FHA for the first time.
  • The government has now invested $77 million in the RFCS from April 2016 to June 2020 including a recent $20.4 million extension.

 

MENTAL HEALTH

  • The Government recently announced an additional $11.4 million for rural mental health as part of a recent drought announcement.
  • Aussie Helpers received another $1 million recently for an innovative counselling service accessed via SMS.

Current estimates indicate that there are potentially 25,000 farmers across the country who are eligible for the FHA, but haven’t yet applied. The main thing is that people should not self-assess, please test your eligibility.

SUPPORT TOOLS

  • Dedicated Farmer Assistance Hotline: Phone 132 316
  • Locate your nearest Rural Financial Counsellor CLICK HERE
  • Further information, please CLICK HERE