FARMING families in need of financial assistance can now apply for additional support.
The federal government recently announced two lump sum supplementary payments to its Farm Household Allowance.
Eligible families will now receive up to $28,000 a year in assistance; an increase of $12,000.
Victorian Farmers Federation president and Murra Warra farmer David Jochinke said the money would benefit Wimmera farmers if dry conditions continued.
“There are farmers in the Wimmera who might need it, but it is mostly aimed at farmers in New South Wales who are experiencing the drought,” he said.
“If we have a dry spring we could be in drought conditions in the Wimmera.
“We need to ensure the agriculture industry can stand on its own two feet and we need to prepare just in case drought conditions occur, which they will do again.”
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the increase to the Farm Household Allowance was part of a $190 million package, which also included support for mental health services.
“We’re in this for the long haul and we will stand with our farmers every step of the way,” he said.
“I want to make sure farming families and communities get all the support they need to get through the drought, recover and get back on their feet.
“These extra FHA payments will help get cash in the door so families can pay their bills and get their kids to school. This will flow through to small businesses across Wannon”.
Member for Mallee Andrew Broad said eligible farming families could access the first lump sum this year, with the second lump sum released in March 2019.
“The principle of the drought package is increasing the allocation from $2.6 million to $5 million,” he said. “An extra $12,000 takes the pressure off these families who need it most.”
He said he would be surprised if any families in the Wimmera would be facing drought this year.
“Those who are really going to benefit will be people in NSW,” he said.
“The best thing Victorians can do to support those NSW farmers is preparing for the hay season. We’ll have to wait and see what the season does.”
The Farm Household Allowance provides a fortnightly payment for a maximum period of four years, as well as funding for a Farm Household Case Officer.
Head to www.humanservices.gov.au to apply.