(Australian Associated Press)
WHAT IS THE FARM HOUSEHOLD ALLOWANCE?
* The FHA is a fortnightly payment given to farmers in hardship, in line with the rate of Newstart. That’s about $1000 for couples and $600 for singles every two weeks. It’s designed to help with living costs like putting food on the table during tough times including drought.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
* Farmers in hardship. The criteria includes contributing significant labour and capital to the business. It has a four-year limit. Producers with net farm assets of up to $5 million are eligible after the government raised the threshold from $2.6 million. There are 6562 farmers on the payment nationally, with an estimated 22,600 more eligible who haven’t signed up. The application process has been simplified, but the 10-page application form still has 77 questions.
WHAT IS CHANGING?
* Under legislation before parliament, the payment will be available to farmers for four out of every 10 years. That bill also gives lump payments of $13,000 for couples and $7500 for singles reaching the end of the four-year limit. Last year, the government also gave out lump payments of $12,000 for couples and $7200 for singles. Farmers will also be able to earn up to $100,000 a year in off-farm income, up from $80,000.
WHAT’S THE GOVERNMENT’S NEXT MOVE?
* Senior ministers have hinted a second supplementary payment could be made for people coming off the FHA. Labor says there are 600 people who have reached the end of the limit, with another 500 to be kicked off before Christmas. The FHA could be further tweaked when the government makes its drought strategy announcement.