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'Kangaroo Paw' assists drought-hit farmers

03 April, 2014

Drought-affected farmers are encouraged to visit mobile service centre 'Kangaroo Paw' as it continues its tour of Northern NSW to test their eligibility for income support by lodging a claim.

Minister for Human Services Marise Payne said the mobile service centre will be travelling to Guyra, Ebor, Bendemeer, Nundle and Manilla next week to offer farmers assistance with Interim Farm Household Allowance claims.

"Some farming families in northern NSW have been experiencing financial hardship, but have not been eligible for income support to help with their daily living expenses," Payne said.

"Both mobile service centres, 'Kangaroo Paw' and 'Desert Pea' have been visiting drought affected areas in northern NSW and Queensland. I encourage farmers to visit the mobile service centre, to test their eligibility and apply for the Interim Farm Household Allowance.

"The Interim Farm Household Allowance has a higher farm assets test threshold, so households with net farm assets of up to $2.55 million can apply for financial support.

"It will be paid at a rate equivalent to Newstart Allowance (or Youth Allowance for those under 22 years old) and farmers will have access to other assistance such as a Health Care Card.

"Staff can help farmers to complete and lodge their claim form on board, and refer people to other community support organisations for further assistance."

Payne said staff on board the mobile service centre have extensive experience in rural servicing and understand the needs of people living in rural and regional communities.

"In fact, the original mobile service centres were known as the 'drought buses' and came into service in 2006 as a drought response measure," Payne said.

"Since 2009, the mobile service centres have travelled over 300,000km to 1400 rural and regional communities across the country and helped more than 50,000 people access Centrelink, Medicare, Australian Hearing and Child Support information, payments and services."

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