A further boost for farming families in hardship

Australian farming families and communities are some of the most productive and innovative in the world, but they work and live in a highly variable environment. This can sometimes lead to significant financial hardship and uncertainty. Recent natural disasters and the impact of COVID-19 have led to increased revenue volatility for many of you.

Australia relies on farmers like you and the contributions you make to our everyday lives. It is important you receive the financial support you need during times of hardship, regardless of how it was caused.  

The Australian Government has introduced further improvements to modernise and streamline Farm Household Allowance (FHA) to help you assess your situation and plan a way forward to long–term financial security.

The assets test has been simplified and the net assets threshold has increased to $5.5 million.

Fortnightly payments have been simplified to the maximum rate for all customers with income under the thresholds. This will provide certainty about payments. Combined with the current farm business loss measure introduced in December 2019, this new change means that you can have substantial off-farm income before you lose access to payment.  

You can also now ask farm consultants and Rural Financial Counsellors to complete the Farm Financial Assessment on your behalf—making it easier to get advice on improving your business.

To help eligible households access training, develop skills and receive professional advice, the activity supplement has also been increased to $10,000. Activities that boost income, either on or off-farm, can be considered.

In addition to these updates, from 1 July 2020, the requirement for business income reconciliation (BIR) will be removed to simplify your payment.

These improvements, and the recent changes to streamline the application process finalise the government’s response to the 2018 farmer–led review of the FHA.

The FHA has already helped more than 14,900 farmers and their partners and has delivered more than $459 million to financially stressed households. This in turn helps rural communities by keeping money moving in the economy.

Find out today if you are eligible. Visit servicesaustralia.gov.au/farmhouseholdallowance

The Rural Financial Counselling Service Program is funded by the Australian Government and the New South Wales Government and is administered by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry