Federal Government announces $190m in drought support

Federal Government announces $190m in drought support


Extra payments under Farm Household Allowance, mental health funding


The Federal Government has announced $190 million in drought support funding.

Additional payments are available to farmers eligible for the Farm Household Allowance, effective August 1.

Couples in a household will receive two payments worth up to $12,000 and single households will receive up to $7,200.

In addition to the FHA fortnightly payments, worth up to $16,000 there will be two additional lump sum payments on September 1 and March 1.

The asset threshold for the FHA will be reduced from $2.6m to $5m.

The Government estimates there are 19,000 eligible farmers who have not applied for the FHA and that an additional 8000 would be eligible under the amended asset test.

Today’s announcement takes the Government’s total drought relief package to to $576m.

In a statement today the Government said it would announce another phase of its support drought response would be announced in coming weeks and that it is developing measures to improve the drought resilience of rural communities, in response to the PM's drought listening tour in June.

The Government will invest $11.4 million in mental health support initiatives, including additional funding for Primary Health Networks in drought affected areas.

There is also an Empowering Communities program with grants around $200,000 to allows local communities to tailor local mental health responses to their needs.

Funding will be provided to ReachOUT to go out into drought affected communities and raise awareness of their youth and children’s counselling services group. 

The Government will also provide $15m to help the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal with small grants for not-for-profit community groups. 

National Farmer’s Federation president Fiona Simson welcomed the announcement.

"Presently, farming families in drought-affected areas are in need of support to feed livestock and meet household and other financial commitments,” Ms Simson said.

"An extra cash payment, in addition to the fortnightly payment of up to $16,000 per year, will provide eligible farmers with a much-needed cash injection."


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