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Better FHA Support for Farmers

Media Release 11 June 2020

  • Improvements to FHA access and support commence toda
  • These changes continue the FHA reforms underway since the 2018 FHA Review
  • FHA legislative reforms will be complete on 1 July 2020 when the Business Income Reconciliation process is removed

New measures to improve the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) program are now in effect. These changes make the FHA payment simpler to access and improve the support available to farmers and their families.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said changes to the FHA over the last year bring more certainty to farmers and their partners around the support they can access during difficult times.

“Since the 2018 FHA Review, my department has been working closely with Services Australia to implement the recommendations of a farmer-led panel to modernise and streamline the FHA program,” Minister Littleproud said.

“We’re serious about walking the talk when it comes to backing farmers in times of hardship.

“We listened when people criticised the assets test during the FHA Review—and we simplified it to a single threshold of $5.5 million.

“There won’t be any differentiation between farm and non-farm assets when accessing the payment now.

“Farmers told the FHA Review Panel that fluctuating payments were confusing so we simplified that, too.
“From now on, people whose income is under the limit will have the certainty of being paid the full rate automatically.

“Furthermore, we’re expanding the support farmers have to make necessary changes to their businesses by including farm consultants and Rural Financial Counsellors among the professionals who can complete Farm Financial Assessments.

“Farmers and their partners will also now have access to a $10,000 Activity Supplement to get independent expert advice, undertake training, or gain new skills and qualifications.

“That’s more than double the previous amount. Funds are not limited to opportunities in farming—any activity that can boost income will be considered.

“We made all these changes to help farmers and their partners on their path to recovery.

“We’re proud of Australia’s farmers and all they do to maintain our food security and our reputation among the world’s greatest producers of food and fibre.

“Providing them with the right support in times of hardship is essential to the continued strength of our agricultural sector.”

Fast Facts:

  • Since the FHA’s introduction in 2014, over $459 million in payments have been made to more than 14,900 individuals
  • The Australian Government is investing over $2 million each week into rural communities through the program.
  • The Australian Government undertook a comprehensive review of FHA in late 2018. The farmer-led panel made a raft of recommendations to refocus the payment and make it simpler and easier to understand.
  • Today’s reforms are the fourth tranche in a suite of legislative reforms to the FHA outlined by the Prime Minister on 27 September 2019. The final tranche of reforms will come into effect on 1 July 2020.