Media Release

Working to ensure farmers can better prepare for tough times

13 February 2014

An important step to ensure primary producers have improved access to the right tools to prepare for and manage droughts and other events that impact their cash flow is currently underway.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said draft legislation to improve the Farm Management Deposit (FMD) Scheme is now available for comment.

"I welcome the Assistant Treasurer, Senator Arthur Sinodinos's, release of the exposure draft of the legislation that will allow more farmers to access the FMD Scheme and make existing FMD accounts easier to manage," Minister Joyce said.

"FMDs are an important tool for many farmers because they give them a way to bank extra money in the good times so it is available in the bad times.

"That increases their self reliance and ability to stay viable even during tough times.

"Farmers, and their families, are doing it tough and facing challenging circumstances in many regions across Australia, and I want to make sure the Australian Government support available matches the need.

"That means improving primary producers' access to measures that help them prepare for the tough times," Minister Joyce said.

The amendments Senator Sinodinos is consulting on aim to:

  • increase the amount of off-farm income that can be earned from $65,000 to $100,000 which will increase the number of primary producers able to access the FMD Scheme
  • allow primary producers to consolidate existing FMD accounts without taxation penalties
  • and finally (in order to fix another mistake made by the former Labor Government) we will stop these rainy day savings being declared ‘unclaimed' and swallowed into the government's consolidated revenue account

The exposure draft and accompanying explanatory material can be found on the Treasury's website. Submissions close on 28 February 2014.

More information about other farmer assistance measures is available on the Department of Agriculture's website.