Media Release

Real help for farming families

21 March 2014

Legislation has passed Parliament that will see permanent assistance available for farming families under the new Farm Household Allowance.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the passage of the Farm Household Support Bill 2014 will give more farming families access to income support when they need it, no matter what the cause.

The allowance, paid at the same rate as NewStart Allowance, replaces Exceptional Circumstances arrangements from 1 July 2014. It will also replace the Interim Farm Household Allowance introduced to help farmers in the lead up to commencement of the legislated allowance.

"Until recently the asset test for this sort of payment has been an issue. In particular the value of on-farm assets has been a barrier to some farming families being eligible for income assistance. The new payment has a higher asset test, making it more realistic for farming families in hardship to access assistance," Minister Joyce said.

"The allowance will be available to farmers and their partners who meet the criteria – the funding is uncapped; we’re not limiting how many farmers we help.

"Running a farm is not as simple as getting your fortnightly wage payment in your bank account as many of us do. Farming families need looking after when their farm is affected by conditions outside of their control – like weather.

"Farmers can’t just walk away from their responsibilities on a farm – they do everything they can to ensure they have a business to run once conditions improve.

"The Farm Household Allowance will be available to recipients for up to three years. Recipients will be automatically issued with a Health Care Card, and have access to $3 000 to access support or training.

This payment will come into effect on 1 July 2014. For those needing immediate assistance the Interim Farm Household Allowance is available.

For more information about assistance measures call 13 23 16 or visit the website Assistance measures.