THE federal budget has delivered a new $99.4 million Farm Household Allowance as part of the National Drought Program Reform.
Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig said the Farm Household Allowance is part of the government’s agricultural plan to prepare farmers for future challenges.
“Under the existing system of Exceptional Circumstances support, assistance has been provided based on lines drawn on a map, rather than on the needs of the primary producers experiencing drought,” Senator Ludwig said.
“The Farm Household Allowance will deliver support for farming families when they need it.”
Eligible farmers and their partners will be able to access the allowance for up to three years, paid fortnightly at a rate equivalent to the Newstart Allowance.
The Farm Household Allowance will be provided from July 1, 2014 to farmers in hardship, to replace the Exceptional Circumstances (EC) Relief Payment and Transitional Farm Family Payment.
“Farmers are on the frontline against climate variability and the national drought reform package is focused on preparing farmers before drought with the tools and skills they need to emerge from it," Senator Ludwig said.
The National Drought Program Reform includes:
Farm Household Allowance, with case managers to help recipients identify pathways to improve their situations; taxation measures including the Farm Management Deposits Scheme; co-ordinated social support services, and tools and technologies to inform farm decision-making.
“These measures deliver important, long-term reform for Australia’s agricultural sector and are designed to deliver greater productivity,” Minister Ludwig said.
More information about the drought reform package is on the DAFF website.