National Farmers' Federation

Major Federal Budget concession a victory for farmers

TODAY the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) won a major concession from the Federal Government, winning changes to non-commercial loan rules to see farmers now being exempt from hefty penalties being brought in under the May 2009 Federal Budget.
“The announcement today by Assistant Treasurer Senator Nick Sherry takes up all the points we put to the Government on how the changes would adversely, and unnecessarily, affect farmers,” NFF President David Crombie said.
“As of today, farmers will not be entangled by the new legislation and will be able to go about their legitimate use of company assets, which are owned exclusively for business use… in particular, farm land.
“The NFF raised key concerns that a loophole in the legislation would inadvertently entrap bona-fide primary production business assets, when the policy intent was clearly aimed at the tax-free use of luxury company assets.
“Farm assets used in the normal course of farming, such as land, clearly do not fall under the intended category and today’s announcement quite rightly excludes them.
“In addition, the Government has also committed to the NFF’s call for a ‘residence exemption’, ensuring that farmers will not be required to pay rent to themselves for use of the farm homestead.
“Without these changes, as pointed out in the NFF’s submission to the Government, it would have been catastrophic for many of Australia’s 140,000 farmers, requiring them go through an unnecessary, complex, costly and time consuming ordeal to dramatically change farm business structures to avoid major cash flow issues.
“Today’s changes are a victory for commonsense, as well as Australian farmers. The Government is to be commended for the timely and considered approach it has taken to dealing with the issues we have put to it, and in dealing with the issues so comprehensively.”

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