FHA AMENDMENTS PASSED IN PARLIAMENT

November 18, 2019 Sharon Purcell

Friday, 15th November, 2019

MEDIA RELEASE
Supporting Farmers in Drought and Experiencing Financial HardshipRural Financial Counselling Service Southern Queensland, Chair Mrs Karen Tully, welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, The Hon. Bridget McKenzie, confirming the successful passage of the Farm Household Support Amendment (Relief Measures). “The Farm Household Allowance Income Support will now be available to primary producers for a total of four years in every 10 year period,” said Ms Tully.
The legislation also will enable those farmers whose time on the Farm Household Allowance payment expires this financial year, to receive a one-off payment of up to $13,000 for a couple or $7,500 for a single person. In addition, another change is the off-farm income offset can be applied in more circumstances, such as agistment. The upper limit has been increased from $80,000 to $100,000.
“Rural Financial Counselling Service Southern Queensland is funded through the RFCS Programme with rural financial counsellors located across 15 locations in Southern Queensland. The counsellors proactively support eligible rural operators to access free, independent, impartial and confidential support and assistance, working through their current situation and toward financial self-sufficiency advised Mrs Tully. We are experiencing very tough times in rural industries currently; no matter what type of issues you are facing on the land, whether it is preparing cash flows, drought, other natural disasters or industry challenges, accessing government support, negotiating with lenders or preparing for retirement and succession planning, our rural financial counsellors can assist,” said Mrs Tully.
“Over the last 12 months, our organisation has streamlined the process for those rural operators applying for the Farm Household Allowance Support through the inhouse designated Farm Household Allowance Support Centre,” Mrs Tully advised.
Karen Tully mentioned that RFCS Southern Queensland is experiencing very high workloads more recently due to the spread of the dryness across the state, bush fires across the region, and additionally the high enquiry from farmers with the new assistance packages. At the moment due to the desperate situation some of our farmers are facing, any farmer in a critical situation requiring urgent assistance is progressed promptly through to a rural financial counsellor with our internal triaging system.
“There has been a lot of enquiry in respect to the new loan products recently announced by the Federal Government through the Regional Investment Corporation. Many primary producers are interested in the loans that will provide eligible farmers with access to a two year interest free period. Our team of counsellors look forward to the release of the loan guidelines so they can assist farmers to find out more information on the products,” said Mrs Tully.
Mrs Tully urges anyone who would like to discuss their situation and to find out more about the support we provide to contact our Head Office on 07 4622 5500 or one of our counsellors detailed on our website www.rfcssq.org.au.