Drought-affected farmers are being urged to seek help on the road

On the road: The Golden Wattle Mobile Service Centre. Photo: Supplied.
On the road: The Golden Wattle Mobile Service Centre. Photo: Supplied.

Drought-affected farmers seeking support from the Federal Government’s Centrelink and Medicare services are being invited to visit the Mobile Service Centre (MSC) Golden Wattle which is touring Bingara and Barraba this week.

Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said staff on board would be able to offer tailored support and advice on a range of assistance like the Farm Household Allowance (FHA).

“A Farm Household Case Officer and a social worker will be at each site to assist people to access the expanded Farm Household Allowance as well as offering short-term counselling and referrals to support services,” Mr Joyce said.

“You don’t need an appointment, and it’s a free service—so if anyone has a question about their application or needs any assistance, make sure you come down and visit the team aboard the Golden Wattle this week.

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“The Department of Agriculture estimates 27,000 farmers are potentially eligible for FHA and have not applied, so that’s why it’s so important that people get expert opinion on their eligibility for assistance.

“This assistance can help put food on the table and maintain a level of decency for people who are living through this drought.”

Information about Department of Veterans’ Affairs programs and support services for veterans and their families will also be available.

Introduced by the Howard Government a decade ago, MSCs have helped more than 130,000 people and travelled more than 700,000 kilometres since they have been on the road.

Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan said the MSCs provide critical information, assistance and support to rural and regional Australians in accessing a range of services, including lodging Centrelink claims, Medicare registrations and access to online services.

“The Mobile Service Centres reinforce the Australian Government’s commitment to deliver the best service possible to all Australians, regardless of where they live,” Minister Keenan said.

Mobile Service Centre on locations:

Bingara Wednesday 12 September

10am to 4pm near the Roxy Theatre, Cunningham Highway

Barraba Thursday 13 September

9:30am to 3:30pm near the Visitor Information Centre, Queen Street