Drought recovery loans open in Queensland today
29 January 2015
Farmers who have experienced severe drought across Queensland can now apply for a drought recovery loan, giving them access to finance at a lower interest rate for a longer term to assist them in getting back to full production as soon as possible.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the Australian Government has committed $50 million to provide assistance to drought-affected farm businesses in Queensland under the new Drought Recovery Concessional Loans Scheme.
“These loans will help farm businesses that are in need of financial assistance and have experienced unprecedented drought conditions. In Queensland, the loans will also help those impacted by drought and the mid-2011 disruption to live cattle exports to Indonesia,” Minister Joyce said.
“We’ve had some rain over the past month, so things are looking better for some farmers. But certainly not all farmers are in this position, and I know it takes a long time to truly get their farming operations back on track. These loans can assist farmers get on the road to recovery when the season turns.
“In managing drought the biggest demand for cash often comes in the recovery phase when farmers need to restock and plant new crops. This new recovery loan addresses exactly this and follows direct feedback from farmers in the hardest hit areas asking for a longer loan term and a lower interest rate.
“Farm businesses can apply for a loan of up to $1 million over 10 years at a concessional variable interest rate initially set at 3.21 per cent. These loan settings take into account the devastating impact that 1-in-50 or 1-in-100 year droughts have on farm businesses by offering longer loan terms and lower interest rates.
"I urge all farmers not to self-assess but to talk to the experts about their options and eligibility - there are a range of state and federal programmes available to assist farmers doing it tough across Australia,” Minister Joyce said.
Minister Joyce said that drought recovery loans added to existing measures in place to assist drought affected farmers across Australia.
“While there were no effective drought measures in place when we came to office, the Coalition has now delivered $69.6 million in Drought Concessional Loans, $157.8 million in Farm Finance Concessional Loans, paid Farm Household Allowance to more than 4,600 people, and so far allocated almost $10 million for pest projects, $23 million for emergency water infrastructure and $14.2 million for social and mental health support,” Minister Joyce said.
“The opening of six new live export markets by the Coalition Government, and record live export volumes is seeing renewed confidence in saleyards across the state – and as we move closer towards our target of $3 a kilo for live cattle – I want to see Queensland farmers be in a position to benefit from these better prices.
Queensland Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, John McVeigh, welcomed the announcement of the new concessional loans today.
“Agriculture is a key pillar of our economy and these drought recovery loans will assist our farmers get back to business as soon as possible and boost their production,” Minister McVeigh said.
“The Newman LNP Government understands the importance of agriculture and has stuck by farmers since the drought began and will continue to do so, for as long as the drought continues.”
Minister McVeigh said that farm businesses that have already taken advantage of the Farm Finance or Drought Concessional Loans schemes are encouraged to talk QRAA about their eligibility for the Drought Recovery Concessional Loans Scheme.
“Producers interested should contact QRAA on Freecall 1800 623 946 or visit www.qraa.qld.gov.au.”