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Neville welcomes simpler assets test for the Australian Government’s sugar industry re-establishment.



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ARTICLE

Paul NEVILLE MP

paulneville.com.au

Neville welcomes simpler assets test for the Australian Government’s sugar industry re-establishment Tuesday, 28 June 2005

Member for Hinkler Paul Neville today welcomed the Australian Government’s decision to simplify the assets test for cane farmers applying for the Sugar Industry Reform Program’s re-establishment grants. “I’m pleased that the government has listened to my representations on behalf of local industry participants and acted to relax the assets test and extend the availability of the $100,000 re-establishment grant,” Mr Neville said. “Today’s announcement proves that the Coalition is serious about helping our local sugar industry be strong and viable in the future. More than $117 million has already been provided directly to farmers, harvesters and millers in the past year and the program still has several years to run. “The grant’s separate assets categories have been amalgamated, enabling cane farmers to off-set their various assets into a single, over-arching limit. “Previously, the value of the family home of a cane farmer wanting to leave the industry was considered under a separate category to the value of all their other assets. “That meant that homeowners with partners were allowed up to $217,500 under each category, with contents and personal effects worth up to $10,000 also considered separately. “Under the Government’s changes, these separate categories have been combined, allowing cane farmers to off-set their various assets into a single, over-arching limit. “This will provide them with access to the maximum amount, provided their total net assets are less than $445,000. For a single applicant, the overarching limit will be $380,500 if they are a home owner and $227,500 if they are not. “The Government has also made changes to allow cane farmers who narrowly fail to meet the asset limits to qualify for a reduced grant. In these cases, the value of the re-establishment grant is reduced by $2 for every $3 in assets held above the relevant limit. “And the deadline for applying for the maximum grant of $100,000 will be extended by 12 months until 30 June 2006 to allow cane farmers time to take full advantage of the changes before the grant reduces to $50,000 on 1 July 2006.” Mr Neville said the changes flow after a year of experience and industry consultation. “The Government has worked hard to ensure members of the sugar industry can take advantage of assistance measures that meet their particular circumstances,” he said. “This enables them to make much more informed decisions about their futures — whether that’s to leave or stay with the industry — and have the

confidence to act on those decisions. “And by extending the application deadline for the maximum, $100,000 grant, we are ensuring those farmers with have ample opportunity to do so.” For more information about the re-establishment grant, or other assistance available under the Sugar Industry Reform Program, call Centrelink on 1800 050 585, or visit the web site at www.centrelink.gov.au