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Social security assistance for farmers brought forward



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31

Joint Statement

AUSTRALIA ^ \. r t u o i r v A b i r t , , /

DPIE91/289J 17 November 1991

SOCIAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE FOR FARMERS BROUGHT FORWARD

N ew provisions to extend farmers' eligibility to social security benefits will now come into effect from 1 December.

When the provisions were announced as part of the new rural assistance package on 29 October this year, they were to apply from 1 January, 1992. "

The M inister for Primary Industries and Energy, Simon Crean, and the M inister for Social Security, Senator Richardson, said at the tim e that the provisions were expected to assist about 2000 farmers and involve funding of $11.7m this financial year and $20m in 1992-93.

The decision to bring forward the start date of the new provisions followed an approach by Mr Crean to Senator Richardson. The provisions will be included in amendments to the Social Security Act which were introduced into Parliament last week.

Under the new provisions, farmers will be eligible for benefits if they are assessed by rural adjustment authorities as having prospects of longer term profitability but being unable to carry extra debt, even with an interest subsidy.

The Government's rural package includes an additional $140m over the next two years: an extra $100m for RAS (excluding Part C) and $40m to cater for the widened eligibility for social security benefits.

Information: Catherine Payne (06) 277 7520 or (06) 295 6337.

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