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News : Mobile Service Centre Visits to Help Drought-hit Farmers
May 5, 2014 -- Drought-affected farmers in the Maranoa region and Banana Shire are encouraged to visit mobile service centre Desert Pea this week to access government assistance.
Minister for Human Services Senator the Hon Marise Payne said the centre will be travelling to Yuleba, Taroom, Theodore, Moura, Baralaba and Jambin this week to offer farmers assistance with Interim Farm Household Allowance claims.
"My department's two Mobile Service Centres 'Kangaroo Paw' and 'Desert Pea' have been travelling through drought affected areas in Northern NSW and Queensland since March," Minister Payne said.
"So far the centres have visited over 60 drought affected communities and helped more than 1,500 people.
"I encourage farmers in the Maranoa region and Banana Shire who have been experiencing financial hardship to visit the Mobile Service Centre, to test their eligibility and apply for the Interim Farm Household Allowance.
"The Interim Farm Household Allowance has a higher farm assets test 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."
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 drought buses and came into service in 2006 as a drought response measure.
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.
In some locations the centre will also be joined by Rural Financial Counsellors, who can speak to farmers about other government drought assistance measures available.
For more information on the Interim Farm Household Allowance, visit humanservices.gov.au/rural or call the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014