IN LIGHT of the recent announcements by two major dairy companies and the difficult seasonal conditions in South and West Gippsland, the Rural Financial Counselling Service is suggesting that farmers explore the possibility of obtaining income support.
Executive officer of the Rural Financial Counselling Service in Gippsland, Peter Jennings, said farmers can access Farm Household Allowance.
“It’s a government assistance program offering income support of up to $476 per fortnight each for a farming couple who are experiencing financial hardship.
“Single people may get up to $527 per fortnight.”
To be eligible, farmers will need to:
• Contribute a significant part of their labour and capital to the farm enterprise;
• Meet an income and assets test, noting a new Minister’s Rule has been signed allowing certain assets (relevantly including shares in Murray Goulburn Cooperative Co. Limited) to be excluded from the FHA assets test;
• Be willing to enter into a Financial Improvement Agreement to help them improve their financial circumstances.
To find out more information about this program, Mr Jennings said that farmers should call the Department of Human Services (Centrelink) on 132 316, or visit the DHS (Centrelink) website www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/farm-household-allowance
Mr Jennings added that the Rural Financial Counselling Service in Gippsland has rural financial counsellors able to help with the FHA application process, as well as offer assistance with budgets, cash-flow management, financial analysis, identifying areas of risk in their business and exploring both short and longer term options.
The Rural Financial Counselling Service is co-funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments and can be contacted at Leongatha on 5662 2566.