darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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August 22, 2014

A new Australian government program offering financial assistance for up to three years is now available in Gippsland for farmers and their families.

The Farm Household Allowance is offered through the Department of Human Services for eligible farmers and their families.

Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester said the program provided support for farmers who had fallen into financial difficulty, often for reasons beyond their control.

“The new Farm Household Allowance provides a valuable safety net for farmers when they fall on hard times, either through drought, flood or other factors they have little or no control over,” Mr Chester said.

“In some cases producers might be carrying debt from several years earlier, so it’s important to know there are services available to help them get back on their feet.

“What’s also important to remember is that farmers should never feel too proud to seek assistance when things get tough. It’s no different to calling on a friend when you get stuck.”

Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria – Gippsland Executive Officer, Peter Jennings, said there was an application process to determine eligibility and level of payment. The service’s counsellors are available to assist farmers with their applications at no cost.

“One of the key steps is a willingness to enter a Financial Improvement Agreement to help improve your financial circumstances,” Mr Jennings said.

“In consultation with the farming family, an action plan is developed with Centrelink and prescribed advisors who can provide the best information in identifying risks and exploring short and long term options.

“Financial difficulty can happen to anyone, but there is help on hand to deal with the banks and creditors and get the budget back on track.”

The RFCSV-G offices can be contacted in Maffra by phone, 5147 0855 or in Bairnsdale on 5152 1514.

To find out more information about the Farm Household Allowance program, call the Department of Human Services (Centrelink) on 132 316 or visit the DHS (Centrelink) website.

There is also a “call-back” service available for busy farmers who are unable to visit the office in person or access the internet.

CAPTION: Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester with Peter Jennings, Ross Neilson (Rural Financial Counselling), Wendy Cumming (Department of Human Services) and Jenny Mason (RFC).



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