An independent panel undertaking a national review of the Farm Household Allowance hardship payment will hold a public consultation session in Bairnsdale on November 22, 2018.
Farm Household Allowance is a Federal Government payment to help farming families struggling through the drought, or other challenges, with daily living expenses.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester encouraged local farmers to share their views at a public feedback session on November 22 at the Bairnsdale Library from 10.30 to noon.
“The Federal Government has taken steps to make it easier for farmers to apply for the fortnightly Farm Household Allowance hardship payment,” Mr Chester said.
“In addition to simplifying the application form, the farm assets test eligibility threshold has been increased from $2.6m to $5m so more farmers can be eligible.”
Mr Chester said in response to the extensive drought conditions, the Federal Government recently announced an extra lump sum payment of up to $12,000 for recipients of the Farm Household Allowance.
Mr Chester encouraged locals who have been unable to access the Farm Household Allowance, as well as other stakeholders such as accountants, agricultural advisers, agronomists, financial planners and rural financial counsellors, to take up the opportunity to share their views.
Anyone planning to attend the Bairnsdale session, should RSVP to FHAreview@agriculture.gov.au
Those who are unable to attend the public consultation session can complete a 10-15 minute online survey until November 16. For further information, visit https://haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/fha-review-2018
Meanwhile, Mr Chester has called for a whole of government response to assist Gippsland farmers in drought. He is advocating for all Ministers with a portfolio capacity to respond to the drought.
East Gippsland and Wellington shires have also been named among 60 regions nationally eligible to receive Federal Government funding from the Drought Communities Program.
Mr Chester said the shires would each receive an initial allocation of $1 million in grant funding, provided directly to councils so they can choose projects that will have the biggest impact for their own communities.