Minister for Human Services, Senator the Hon Marise Payne said a Mobile Service Centre will be travelling to Allora, Inglewood and Millmerran next week, and Chinchilla, Wandoan, Condamine, Tara and Moonie the following week to offer farmers assistance with Interim Farm Household Allowance claims.
â€œMy departmentâ€™s two Mobile Service Centres â€˜Kangaroo Pawâ€™ and â€˜Desert Peaâ€™ have been travelling through drought affected areas in Northern NSW and Queensland since March,â€ Minister Payne said. â€œSo far the Centres have visited over 100 drought affected communities and helped more than 2000 people.
â€œI encourage farmers in the Darling Downs who have been experiencing financial hardship to visit the Mobile Service Centre when in their vicinity and apply for the Interim Farm Household Allowance, which has a higher farm assets test threshold, so households with net farm assets of up to $2.55 million can apply for financial support.”
â€œIt 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.â€
Minister Payne said staff on board the Mobile Service Centre have extensive experience in rural servicing and understand the needs of people living in rural and regional communities. “The original Mobile Service Centres were known as the â€œdrought busesâ€ and came into service in 2006 as a drought response measure,â€ Minister Payne said.
â€œThe feedback weâ€™ve received from drought affected communities has been very positive â€“ people have even encouraged neighbours, friends and family to visit the Mobile Service Centre while weâ€™re in their town.”
Staff can help farmers to complete and lodge their claim form on board, access Social Work services and refer people to other community support organisations for further assistance. â€œIn some locations the centre will be joined by Rural Financial Counsellors, who can speak to farmers about other government drought assistance measures available.â€
For more information on the Interim Farm Household Allowance, visit humanservices.gov.au/rural or call the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316.Â To see which drought-affected communities the Mobile Service Centre will be servicing next, visit humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/mobile-service-centres