Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said more support will be provided to farmers and their families across the region on Saturday with specialised staff deployed to Inverell to assist with Farm Household Allowance enquiries.
Staff from the Department of Human Services will be on hand from 10am to 12 noon in Inverell, a severely drought-affected area, providing personalised assistance in completing Farm Household Allowance (FHA) claims and to connect people with other services they may be eligible to access.
Mr Joyce said Farm Household Case Officers and a Rural Financial Counsellor would be available to offer free financial counselling and business tips.
“Some of us have been fortunate to receive some rain lately but the drought continues to hit our communities hard and Saturday’s event is an opportunity for people to learn about the financial assistance and ongoing support available to help them,” Mr Joyce said.
“The feedback we’ve been hearing from similar FHA information events across the region at Tamworth and Dubbo has been very positive, people appreciate the extra support.
“I strongly encourage local farmers to gather their paperwork and go along on Saturday to receive personalised assistance and have their FHA questions answered with the dedicated staff on hand.”
Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan said helping communities battling the drought was a high-priority for the Coalition Government and farmers attending on Saturday could expect to receive ongoing support during the crisis.
“The support won’t end on the day – our network of Farm Household Case Officers provide ongoing assistance for FHA recipients to help them access other support services and develop action plans to get their farm business back on track,” Mr Keenan said.
In August, the Federal Coalition Government announced additional lump sum payments for FHA recipients to help them through this extraordinary drought.
Two lump sum payments are available for eligible households, worth up to a combined $12,000. Payment of the first lump sum commenced from 1 September 2018 and the second payment is scheduled for 1 March 2019.
Farmers and their partners can apply for FHA. However, farmers need to lodge a FHA claim before 1 December 2018 in order to be eligible for the first FHA lump sum payment. Claims lodged after 2 December 2018 may only qualify a farmer to receive the second supplement payment.
Further information can be found at humanservices.gov.au/farmhouseholdallowance
Farm Household Allowance information session location:
Inverell Service Centre
Saturday, 17 November 2018
10am to 12 noon
158 Otho Street Inverell