Drought recovery loans open in South Australia
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce
South Australian Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Leon Bignell
29 January 2016
Drought-affected farmers in South Australia can now apply for Drought Recovery Concessional Loans, giving access to finance to help them get back to full production as soon as possible.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and SA Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Leon Bignell, said the $10 million allocated for the scheme in SA would help farm businesses experiencing unprecedented drought conditions to recover when seasonal conditions improve.
“We understand many producers across South Australia continue to feel the impacts of drought and we are committed to ensuring they have access to real, practical support when they need it,” Minister Joyce said.
“Farmers have asked for longer loan terms and lower interest rates—they need capital most when the drought actually breaks.
“These loans deliver a concessional interest rate of 2.71 per cent, terms of up to ten years and interest-only repayments available for the first five years of the loan.
“This means farmers can invest in planting and restocking activities to get back on their feet.”
Minister Bignell said the State Government was committed to supporting farm businesses.
“These loans will help our farmers get back to business as soon as possible and boost their production.
“We want as many eligible farm businesses as possible to receive help—but don’t self-assess, talk to someone in Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) to find out your options.
“PIRSA staff will continue to visit affected regions to meet with farmers individually to discuss the national guidelines and application process.”
Minister Joyce said $250 million was being made available across the country in Drought Concessional Loans and Drought Recovery Concessional Loans as part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.
“This Drought Recovery Concessional Loan product is in addition to the $10 million in Drought Concessional Loans made available to South Australian farmers on 15 October 2015,” Minister Joyce said.
“We’re already delivering on several key drought and other hardship support and risk management measures.”
These measures include:
- access to the Farm Household Allowance for farm families experiencing hardship, benefiting more than 450 South Australian farmers since March 2014;
- rolling out $20 million in additional funding for 2015–16 to expand access to community mental health and family support in drought-affected areas, with additional drought coordinators already at work;
- establishing a dedicated ATO hotline (13 11 42, select Option 3) to provide advice to drought-affected taxpayers—more than 11,000 calls have already been made to this service;
- investing $3.3 million in a Bureau of Meteorology project to give farmers more localised, more accurate and more frequent seasonal forecasts—work has already commenced on the implementation of a new forecasting model and consultations are underway with users on their needs from the improved service; and
- delivering the additional $1.8 million in funding this year for Rural Financial Counselling Service providers in drought-affected areas, including an extra $160,000 allocated to South Australia, especially targeted to support growers in the south east.
For more information on the range of Australian Government assistance for farmers, farm businesses and rural communities, visit agriculture.gov.au/assistance