Media Release

Debt relief to Western Australian farm businesses is on its way

Joint media release

The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP
Minister for Agriculture

The Hon. Ken Baston MLC
WA Minister for Agriculture and Food


8 August 2014

Farmers in the West will soon have access to further assistance to help them through drought, following agreement between the Australian and Western Australian governments.

Australian Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce said the rules around eligibility for the Drought Concessional Loans Scheme were now agreed and the focus had turned to getting in place the delivery arrangements to allow farm businesses to apply.

Minister Joyce said $20 million would be available to Western Australia through the drought loan scheme to help farm businesses cope with prolonged dry conditions.

"The loans will help those experiencing drought to restructure their existing business debt, access funds for operating expenses and/or undertake drought recovery activities.

"The five year loans will fund up to 50 per cent of eligible farm business debt up to a maximum of $1 million at an initial concessional interest rate of four per cent.

"In addition to the drought concessional loans, the 2014-15 round of Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme is currently available to Western Australian farm businesses.

"I am pleased to announce that following discussions with Minister Baston, we are now supportive of amending the scheme guidelines of the Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme. This will enable eligible farm businesses struggling with debt, including because of seasonally dry conditions, to access loans at a concessional rate of four and a half per cent."

Western Australian Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said the State Government would administer both the Farm Finance and Drought Concessional Loans Schemes through the Rural Business Development Corporation, with assistance from the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia.

"We expect to be in a position to receive applications for the drought loans scheme by the end of August," Minister Baston said.

"I would also remind farmers that in addition to the drought loans, loans to undertake productivity enhancement activities are still currently available through the Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme." 

For information, visit agric.wa.gov.au/rbdc or phone 1800 198 231.

For further information on assistance available to farmers, visit daff.gov.au/assistance