Mobile help for farming families

A mobile drought-help van has hit the north this week to dispense more information to cash-strapped drought-stricken farmers. 

The Desert Pea mobile service centre was in Uralla yesterday and will be at Bundarra tomorrow, Warialda on Thursday and Mungindi on Friday.

It is designed for farmers to test their eligibility for income support and claim the farm household allowance.

Human Services minister Marise Payne was among the visitors to the van in Uralla.

“Some farming families in northern NSW have been experiencing financial hardship, but have not been eligible for income support to help with their daily living expenses,” Mr Payne said.

“The Interim Farm Household Allowance has a higher farm assets threshold, so households with net farm assets of up to $2.55 million can apply for financial support. 

“It will be paid at a rate equivalent to Newstart Allowance (or Youth Allowance for those under 22 years old) and farmers will have access to other assistance such as a Health Care Card.”

She said staff were able to help farmers lodge claims and refer them to other support organisations for other assistance and from April 1 new drought co-ordinators operating out of her department would be able to link federal, state and other social services to drought affected people.

She acknowledged the significant impact on the mental health and well-being of drought victims and said the new co-ordinators would be mobile too to help communities.

The van will be at Bundarra from 10am to 4pm near the School of Arts building, at Warialda on Thursday from 9.30am to 4pm in the council car park and at Mungindi at the Rural Transaction Centre.

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