Hundreds of struggling Queensland farmers went without government hardship payments for four months and now face an uncertain future as to when help will come.
Hundreds of struggling Queensland farmers went without government hardship payments for four months and now face an uncertain future as to when help will come.

Drought-hit farmers left without government help for months

HUNDREDS more farmers have been kicked off hardship payments as the drought continues and a long-term solution remains out of reach.

There has been some relief with the first of lump sum payments going out at the end of last week to those who have exhausted their farm household allowance.

But hundreds of farmers had been without the financial support for months waiting for the lump sums to be approved.

Opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon says Queensland farmers have no certainty on when they will next get financial assistance. Picture: Kym Smith
Opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon says Queensland farmers have no certainty on when they will next get financial assistance. Picture: Kym Smith

There have been 340 Queensland farmers kicked off the FHA after reaching the allowance's four year cap - up from 203 at the end of September.

There have been almost 1000 farmers who have lost the payment nationwide.

The Morrison Government promised in mid-October that farmers cut off from drought allowances would be given cash payments of up to $13,000 to help them put food on the table.

But it took until last week for the payments to go out - all the Queenslanders having now received the additional relief just in time for Christmas.

There is still uncertainty around their financial future, with no rain forecast in the short term and the government yet to make clear when or if another lump sum payment will be made available.

Opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said Queensland farmers were the most impacted by the "inadequacies" of the FHA.

"Literally hundreds of farming families have gone months without any payments whatsoever," he said.

"There's absolutely no certainty around the second payment. It leaves Queensland farmers going through this time without any idea of whether they will be given extended support."

A spokeswoman for Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said there had been no delay in handing out the payments, despite the legislation approving them being passed on November 12.

A spokeswoman for Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie denied there has been a delay in lump sum payments to farmers cut off from the Farm Household Allowance. Picture: Kym Smith
A spokeswoman for Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie denied there has been a delay in lump sum payments to farmers cut off from the Farm Household Allowance. Picture: Kym Smith

She said payments started on December 15 and all eligible recipients had received the money by December 19.

Senator McKenzie did not say when the next lump sum payment will be made if required.

"One of the important changes our government has made is to ensure the minister can make future lump sum payments if tough conditions continue," the spokeswoman said.

"It is the Minister's intention to assess conditions ahead of next financial year."



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