News and Views

Additional $15 million to support farm businesses in QLD

Farm businesses in Queensland dealing with and recovering from drought will benefit from an additional $15 million in Drought Assistance Concessional Loans funding, provided by the Federal Government due to strong demand.

Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien, have announced additional Drought Assistance Concessional Loans funding to bring total funding for Queensland in 2017 to $50 million.

“The Federal Government is delivering $250 million in Farm Business Concessional Loan funding in 2017, of which Queensland has now been allocated $50 million to support farmers through drought,” Federal Minister Joyce said.

“Almost $20 million in concessional loans has already been approved for 33 Queensland farm businesses between 1 November 2016 and 31 March 2017 to refinance existing debt, build their self-reliance, and prepare for future drought.

“This support builds on $220 million in concessional loans approved under the Federal Government’s previous farm loans programs to Queenslanders.

“Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority (QRAA) told us the $35 million already allocated for drought concessional loans could run out and they needed an injection of additional funds to meet the demand from farming businesses. We have responded to ensure loans continue to be an option for eligible farm businesses.

“The Commonwealth’s Farm Business Concessional Loans are a good option for farmers with a variable interest rate of 2.47 per cent and loan terms of 10 years, with interest-only repayment for the first five years.

Federal Minister Joyce said that in the 2017–18 Budget, the Federal Government announced it will extend concessional loan eligibility to farmers who have exhausted their full three year entitlement to the Farm Household Allowance and need support to continue to improve their circumstances.

“Supporting viable farm businesses is firmly in our national interest, which is why the Federal Government has delivered on its commitment to establish the Regional Investment Corporation in the 2017–18 Budget, to open for business by July 2018.

“The RIC will administer the Federal Government’s remaining $2 billion investment in concessional loans from 2018–19, as well as the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.”

Member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien, said take–up of the loans has shown they are a valuable product for Queensland farm businesses working to build resilience to the impacts of drought.

“While Cyclone Debbie led to significant rain and flooding, there are still large parts of Queensland with a rainfall deficiency that meets the loan’s criteria for eligibility,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Drought Assistance Concessional Loans have proven to be an important tool to assist drought-affected farm businesses to manage through drought conditions and recover once the season breaks.”

To find out more about concessional loans in Queensland please contact QRAA on free call 1800 623 946 or visit www.qraa.qld.gov.au.

For more information on the range of Australian Government assistance for farmers, farm businesses and rural communities, visit agriculture.gov.au/assistance.

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