Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Farmers likened to "solo mums" - Helen Kelly

Regarding the government assistance available to farmers in officially drought-ridden areas, in a column titled  "We are all beneficiaries now" Helen Kelly writes,

Solo mums are a bit like these farmers. They are working but not earning and need community support to do that....  The drought shows how important social protection systems are.  When the unexpected happens – your farm dries up, you get sick, you lose your job, you find yourself alone raising your kids – the community steps in by way of tax funded Social Protection. 

I wonder how farmers feel about being compared to people who default to a welfare lifestyle in their thousands every year?

Tax-paying farmers are subject to the whim of the weather; many DPB mums are subject to their own (or their partner's) personal whims and wants. But Kelly can't differentiate between people who are  products of a habitual hand-out regime and people who need temporary help.

Shoring up support for a debased benefit system on the back of drought-stricken farmers sucks.

(Should farmers get government assistance? A tax break to buy income protection insurance against such advents would be better).


thor42 said...

There is a *world* of difference between a farmer and a beneficiary.

The default behaviour for a farmer is to get out and do some work, no matter what the weather is like.

The default behaviour for a beneficiary is to lie in bed until noon and then crawl out and get some lunch.

Will said...

Only a handful of farmers will qualify for assistance, and only for a short time. The tax flexibility will be more helpful, as the way the govt. collects income tax from business is inappropriate for farming. Our income is too variable.

Anonymous said...

Most self employed peoples income is variable.

WWallace said...

Farmers know that their income is subject to the vagaries of international markets and the weather. Farmers run a business. If they want to protect their income stream from such risk, there are financial instruments to do so.

In the old days, you just tightened your belt, and made do until the harvests were plentiful again. (Or walked away.)

I say, look after yourselves, farmers. Or invest in a scheme to do so.

S.Beast said...

Does this blog not extoll the virtues of personal responsibilty? Did anyone force these people to go into the business of farming??

Is it not reasonable that these farmers predict fluctuations in yield? If so, why aren't they putting enough money away for this type of situation? The government expected to muster up some extra cash, but these guys pay the exact rate of tax on their earnings as every other business in a good year.

Sorry I just can't feel any sympathy whatsoever.

Tracey said...

Having lived in a rural community for many years i know that the average farmer is never happy and generally always complaining.About the weather,taxes,townies,milk prices,wool prices and whatever.They also know how to best make their situation so that they have a Community Services Card and their children can get Student Allowances.They just pay a lawyer and set up everything in trust as you can do in this wonderful fair land of ours.The average worker does not do this and are so much worse off.
Funny thing is the nice new top of the line cars and utes they drive while declaring low incomes.Cruizes they go on.I know that is not all farmers but a many that I know.
i am self employed gardener and my work is variable in quantity and also weather dependent.Not much growing in the way of weeds at the moment with the drought.Do you think I may be able to get a handout?

Lindsay Mitchell said...
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Lindsay Mitchell said...

S Beast, The payments (equivalent to the unemployment benefit) are cash and asset-tested. Only the 'poorest' farmers will receive them. You've written before about your own reliance on a benefit and I've assumed your need is genuine. Before you start talking about having no "sympathy whatsoever" think about the individual circumstances of farmers instead of lumping them all together. As someone dependent due to circumstances beyond your control perhaps you should rethink your attitude position.

The vast majority of farmers will have to use their own resources to manage the drought.