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Tuesday, 3 December 2019
Page: 6814


Mr SUKKAR (DeakinAssistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing ) (16:41): I thank all members who have spoken on the Farm Household Support Amendment (Relief Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2019. By keeping the economy strong, the government can support our key agricultural industries to combat, recover from and prepare for drought. We know that farming, in the end, is a long game. Support in times of hardship is part of what's needed to help farmers and their communities through these quite obviously difficult times. There are times like now, when widespread drought conditions impact on all of our primary production and the livelihoods of our farmers and their families. That's why the farm household allowance was originally created, and with strong bipartisan support—to make sure that farmers doing it tough have the support they need.

Since the introduction of the farm household allowance in 2014, over $365 million in fortnightly payments has been made to almost 13,000 farmers and their partners. Let me be clear: the farm household allowance is not a drought measure. However, the government fully acknowledges that many of the proud farmers who access this allowance do so because of drought. This bill will improve the financial situation of farmers and their families who are facing this financial hardship. It's the next instalment by the Australian government to implement the recommendations made in the report of the independent review, Rebuilding the FHA: a better way forward for supporting farmers in financial hardship. Support for farmers, their families and drought affected communities remains this government's most urgent priority, and I therefore commend this bill to the House.

The SPEAKER: The original question was that this bill be now read a second time. To this the honourable member for Hunter has moved as an amendment that all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The question now is that the amendment moved by the honourable member for Hunter be agreed to.