For three years Barnaby Joyce has denied there were problems with Farm Household Allowance. He was even driven to doctor his Hansard after embellishing its effectiveness.
The payment should be helping farming families through tough times but too many have found the application process impossible.
Changes announced to the eligibility criteria today are welcome but the main problem has been ignored; the application process and Centrelink resources.
These were the main issues raised by farmers and others during Senator Bridget McKenzie’s “roundtables” but the Government has done nothing about them.
Bringing forward the payment eligibility date is of no help if families can’t make their way through the application process.
Senator McKenzie’s report says she took Centrelink staff with her on her road show and they were able to provide 23 applicants with “intensive support”, reinforcing how difficult the process is.
Many more waiting two hours on the phone will not be so lucky.