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Beyond Farming

Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee - Monday 21 February 2011

Mr Noble—I can, if you wish. The program you refer to is called Beyond Farming. It is a program delivered by the WA Council of Social Service. They sought expressions of interest for people to become mentors, so former farmers to become mentors to current farmers. We can provide details about the selection process for those mentors, if you would like.

Senator BACK—There is a limit to the number of lawn mowing contracts we can have in Perth. I just wonder whether they would be the best equipped people to actually be mentoring people who are leaving farming.

Mr Noble—These are former farmers who are participating in the program, so they are farmers who have worked across the pilot region in the recent past.

Senator BACK—Thank you very much.

CHAIR—That has worked out well. I was going to go to Senator Nash but she is not here. I will quickly go to Senator Siewert to follow up on her line of questioning.

Senator SIEWERT—I do particularly want to follow up on the WA trial. Of the 19 applications for exit, you said three had been pre-approved. Is that correct?

Mr Noble—Yes.

Senator SIEWERT—You said no-one has actually exited, but three have been pre-approved.

Mr Noble—Yes. They have gone through a pre-assessment process where Centrelink has assessed their income and assets, and Centrelink has advised them that subject to selling their property based on the eligibility criteria, they would be eligible for an exit grant.

Senator SIEWERT—You said there are 19. Three have obviously been assessed. Where are the other 16 up to?

Mr Noble—I would need to take that on notice to find out where those applications are up to. The figure has increased quite a bit since early December, so I think a lot of those would be in the assessment process, but I can take that on notice to give you that detail.

Senator SIEWERT—You said the 19 applications are to 16 February. Is that correct.

Mr Noble—To 16 February, yes.

Senator SIEWERT—If you could take that on notice, that would be appreciated, thank you. And I apologise; I missed a bit as I came in the door. In terms of the review process, does that report to both the state and Commonwealth governments?

Mr Mortimer—Yes, that is right.

Senator SIEWERT—And from there, what happens after that?

Mr Mortimer—The government will consider the findings of the assessment panel and decide whether it wants to continue any of these measures or do something different. It will basically weigh it up against the current policy and what is ascertained about the new measures and decide what makes the best sense for any new drought policy measures.

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