Media Release

Government assistance flows to drought-hit farmers

13 May 2014

The Abbott Government is honouring its commitment to support farmers hit by drought by providing a $320.0 million drought package in the 2014-15 Federal Budget.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said that the comprehensive drought package was first announced on 26 February 2014. The package will support farmers and their families through tough times. It includes:

  • Drought Concessional Loans totalling (up to)$280.0 million available to give eligible farm businesses the resources to recover from the effects of drought;
  • More generous criteria for accessing income support measures;
  • Up to $12.0 million added to existing emergency water infrastructure schemes, including supplementing those in NSW and Queensland, to assist drought affected farms to access water;
  • Up to $10.0 million to assist with pest management in drought affected areas; and
  • Up to $10.7 million to help increase access to social and mental health services in communities affected by this drought.

Additionally, the Farm Household Allowance starts on 1 July 2014 to help farmers during times of financial hardship, ensuring income support to assist with essential bills and to put food on the table. The allowance is available regardless of the source of hardship. Farmers don't have to wait for a severe drought to access support.

This is an uncapped, demand-driven program, with no limit to the number of possible recipients.

The Abbott Government has listened to our farmers and worked to ensure the asset test for the allowance is not a barrier for those in genuine need. The revised asset test has applied from 1 March 2014 for the Interim Farm Household Allowance.

"The uptake of the Interim Farm Household Allowance indicates that farm families in hardship are accessing financial support.

"As of 2 May 2014, there were 998 recipients of the interim allowance. If there are more eligible applicants, they will receive support," Minister Joyce said.

For more information on income support for farmers call the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316. Information about other farmer assistance measures is available at www.daff.gov.au/assistance