The Australian Government commenced a review of the FHA program settings in October 2018. The review looked to determine:
- whether the program was reaching farmers in need
- if the original program objectives were being met
- if the program remained fit-for-purpose
- if the program contributed to an enduring approach to income support for farmers in hardship, including drought.
The review provided its final report and recommendations to government in the first half of 2019.
The review was conducted by an expert panel in consultation with stakeholders. Panel members included:
- Mrs Michele Lawrence (Chair), member of the Agricultural Industry Advisory Council and dairy farmer, Tasmania
- Ms Georgie Somerset, Deputy Chair of Agforce and cattle farmer, Queensland
- Professor Robert Slonim, Professor of Economics at the University of Sydney and former director of the Australian Government’s Behavioural Economics Team, New South Wales.
The panel conducted a public submission process to ensure all interested stakeholders were given the opportunity to participate.
FHA provides help for farmers facing hardship, particularly during drought. The allowance commenced on 1 July 2014 and formed part of the Commonwealth’s contribution to the 2013 Intergovernmental Agreement on National Drought Program Reform.