Drought help changes

By Country News

New Federal Government changes will see farmers able to claim accelerated depreciation on new fodder storages and income from forced sale of livestock treated differently under Farm Household Allowance.

Under the changes, introduced on July 1, those receiving Farm Household Allowance who are forced to sell livestock during the drought may continue to receive FHA payments if the profits are deposited into a Farm Management Deposit account.

Federal Drought Minister David Littleproud said the changes were a ‘‘common sense step’’ and would allow farmers to set money aside for re-stocking when the drought breaks.

‘‘We continue to help farmers get through this drought with $6.3billion of support,’’ Mr Littleproud said.

‘‘Our support is spread right across federal areas of responsibility — Farm Household Allowance, Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate, Rural Financial Counselling, pests and weeds management, concessional loans and the Drought Communities Program.’’

The accelerated depreciation means farmers could this financial year claim the entire depreciation for feed storages built last year.

‘‘Farmers need to store more feed for their animals during drought, and we’re helping cover the cost of new sheds, silos and other storages,’’ Mr Littleproud said.

‘‘This is one more way we can help farmers during drought.

‘‘The accelerated depreciation for fodder storages joins existing measures to help farmers depreciate water infrastructure and fencing costs.’’

Mr Littleproud said a number of other changes had been introduced to assist farmers, with the instant asset write-off for small businesses extended to June 30, 2020. and its value increased from $25000 to $30000.

‘‘Later this year, the Regional Investment Corporation will offer drought restocking and replanting loans of up to $200000, with a two-year interest free period, to help farmers restock and replant when conditions improve after drought,’’ he said.

‘‘On top of this, we’ll soon have the Future Drought Fund in place to help our rural communities build resilience, with $100million per year towards building resilience and greater preparedness for future droughts.’’