Dairy Support Package

​​​A dairy-specific support package has been announced to help dairy farmers affected by the Murray Goulburn and Fonterra decisions to reduce farm gate milk prices. On 30 December 2016, Dairy Recovery Concessional loans became available to Victorian dairy farm businesses affected by the National Dairy Products retrospective price reduction in 2015–16.

Key elements of the package are:

Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans

Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans are available through the Farm Business Concessional Loans Scheme. Applications for these loans will close on 30 June 2017 or when funding is fully committed, whichever occurs first.

More rural financial counsellors

Additional rural financial counsellors have been employed in areas impacted by the reduction in milk prices. The Rural Financial Counselling Service is a long-standing service that provides free rural financial counselling to a range of clients, including dairy farmers, who are suffering financial hardship. Additional counsellors have been employed in:

  • Victoria
  • Tasmania
  • South Australia
  • southern and northern NSW.

Dairy farmers in need of assistance should contact their local rural financial counsellor directly or call 1800 686 175 to find their local counsellor.

Additional support to process claims for Farm Household Allowance

The Farm Household Allowance (FHA) provides eligible farmers and their partners, who are experiencing financial hardship, with assistance and support to improve their long-term financial situation. The Department of Human Services (DHS) will continue to process claims for farmers and their partners as quickly as possible. In response to the hardship currently being faced, DHS has allocated additional assessment officers to help process FHA applications.

Farmers and their partners are encouraged to not self-assess and contact the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 13 23 16 (8am – 8pm) to discuss their eligibility.

New Dairy Industry Liaison Officer

A DHS Dairy Industry Liaison Officer has been employed to act as an information broker, linking dairy farmers up with state and federal assistance and services in the farmer’s local area including Farm Household assessment officers, Rural Financial Counsellors, Primary Health Networks and other organisations funded by the Australian and state governments. The officer will be mobile, covering Victoria and south eastern South Australia. For more information on, or to get in contact with, the Dairy Industry Liaison Officer, call the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 13 23 16 (8am – 8pm).

Mobile Service Centres redirected to affected dairy regions

The mobile service centre was deployed to major dairy areas in Victoria and south eastern South Australia to help people to access assistance. The mobile service centre has now resumed its normal route. Further information about the mobile service centre and the locations it will be visiting can be found on the Department of Human Services website.

Additional support through Tactics for Tight Times program

Dairy Australia’s existing Tactics for Tight Times program will receive additional funding. The program provides practical information, advice and support to dairy farmers to help them make decisions on farm. For more information about the program visit the Dairy Australia website.

Financial hardship – tax implications

While not a measure in the Dairy Support Package, if your farm business is unable to meet your tax obligations and you are experiencing financial hardship, please contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to discuss deferred payment plans.

State government assistance

A number of state governments have also announced support for dairy farmers affected by the Murray Goulburn and Fonterra decisions to reduce farm gate milk prices. For further information on state government assistance, please visit the primary industries department in your state.

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