Australian farmers face significant seasonal variability, including climatic inconsistencies and volatile commodity prices, sequentially there are significant differences in farming outputs year in year out. In recognition of this the Australian government Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment (DAWE) is continuing to support Australian farmers through the Farm Household Allowance.
Since 2014, the FHA has aided more than 16,000 farmers and their partners experiencing financial hardship. It is estimated that there are 18,800 eligible farmers who have not yet applied for the program. The most common misconception being that the FHA is only to be considered for farmers experiencing drought but, the assistance is available for any form of hardship.
The Farm Household Allowance payment has 5 key elements:
- Fortnightly income support payments equivalent in value to Jobseeker payments.
- Ancillary allowances: including rent assistance, telephone, pharmaceutical and a health care card.
- Case support from a Farm Household Case Officer (FHCO)
- Financial evaluation of the farm enterprise
- $10,000 (one-off payment) activity supplement to be used to increase capacity for financial self-reliance.
Eligible applicants receive up to 4 years of income support in a 10-year period, with the intention of facilitating financial recovery and promoting on going prosperity. During this period recipients are required to undertake mutual obligations with their FHCO aimed at improving their long-term financial circumstances.
The eligibility requirements include:
- You are a farmer or a partner of a farmer
- You are at least 16 years of age
- Contribute labour and capital to an Australian farm
- Pass the Income and Asset tests
- Have received the FHA for less than 4-years in a 10-year period
To be eligible the farm must have significant commercial purpose. This is assessed on:
- The purpose of the farm
- Prospect for profitability
- Consistency of activity
- Whether your farm runs as a business
- The size, scale and permanency of your farm.
Applications for the Farm Household Allowance are currently open. For more information about the program and how to claim please visit the Services Australia website: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/farm-household-allowance/how-claim
For assistance with considering your farms suitability, submitting your application, and obtaining supporting documentation please contact your usual Mazars Advisor or alternatively our financial hardship specialist Owen Dingle via the form below or on:
Author: Alex Harris
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