Farmers across the country in financial hardship or drought will benefit from around $20 million in additional funding to extend the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS), working alongside farmers for more than 30 years.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull joined Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud in Central West NSW and Central West and South West Queensland to chat to drought affected locals and RFCS counsellors.
“This funding demonstrates the Government’s commitment to supporting our farming communities to generate their own wealth and build strong, healthy livelihoods,” Mr Turnbull said.
“The Government has delivered $17 million to extend RFCS provider contracts to 30 June 2020 and a further $3.4 million to meet continued demand, bringing the total to more than $70 million over four years to the RFCS.”
Minister Littleproud said the RFCS extension would be welcomed by communities across the country, with around two-thirds of clients stating the service had helped build resilience in their businesses.
“The feedback speaks for itself: the program is working and as dry conditions continue the service must too,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Each year around 4,500 clients seek help from the RFCS. Counsellors sit down with clients at the kitchen table to talk it out, make a plan for the future and prepare for meetings with lenders, debt mediators and accountants.
“The counsellors also provide vital information about other assistance such as the government’s Farm Household Allowance and support to reach their goals while on payment.
“The FHA has helped over 7,900 recipients so far. Around 85 per cent of people coming off farm support said they are satisfied with the path ahead, which would indicate the program is working well.
“Farmers are some of Australia’s hardest working, resourceful and resilient people, who keep plugging away no matter what Mother-Nature throws at them, but sometimes you just need a bit extra support.”
Source: Australian Government