Cash for farmers cut from drought allowance

MORE than 200 Queensland farmers cut off from drought allowances will be given cash payments of up to $13,000 to help them put food on the table.

Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie made the surprise announcement today following meetings with the National Farmers Federation.

But the Morrison Government is standing firm on the four-year limit that people can access the Farm Household Allowance.

The Courier-Mail last week revealed 203 Queenslanders had been kicked off the FHA after reaching the four-year limit.


AgForce and Labor agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon both called for the allowance to be extended until the drought ends.

Senator McKenzie this morning announced a new "drought relief support payment" for farmers coming off the FHA.

It will be up to $7500 for singles and $13,000 for couples.

"This is a one-off payment to help them in times of need, recognising thanks to the feedback of the people who live and work in regional Australia, that this drought has gone on for far too long," she said.

"Any one who has come off the payment since the first of July this year will be eligible to apply for the payment."

She said there would not be strings attached to how the money could be used.

"This will be a cash payment supporting farming families," Senator McKenzie said.

The Agriculture Minister said the NFF itself had asked for the FHA to be a time-capped payment, as farming was typically boom-bust.

"We've made it easier for farmers to bank during the good years so they can draw on it in the tough years and smooth out the boom-bust cycle," she said.

"Farmers as they've entered the drought haven't needed to draw on the Farm Household Allowance from day one, because they've had significant reserves."

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