Greater certainty for Rural Financial Counselling Service
27 August 2015
The Australian Government is continuing its support for the
Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS), with a $3.5 million extension
for existing service providers until 31 March 2016.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the extension
would provide certainty for clients and service providers, while allowing time
for a merit-based competitive grants process to allocate a new round of
“The RFCS provides a vital service to farm businesses and
other rural businesses, and this extension will allow counsellors to provide
continuity of service for their clients,” Minister Joyce said.
“With the impacts of drought continuing to put pressure on
farm businesses in many parts of the country, it is more important than ever
that farmers have certainty about the services and support available to them.
“With about 120 qualified rural
financial counsellors working across 14 regions nationally, the RFCS has
been providing a valuable service to our farm businesses for almost
30 years—something we are committed to seeing continue well into the
“As part of our drought support package, we have already
committed $1.8 million in additional funding to provide extra support and
boost service hours in drought-affected areas—this is on top of the
$14.3 million allocated to the programme for 2015–16.
“We have also been working to implement many of the
recommendations of the National Rural Advisory Council review of the service to
ensure it is best meeting the needs of clients,” Minister Joyce said.
Minister Joyce said the extension would apply to all 14
service providers across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western
Australia, Tasmania and South Australia, and would also include funding for
RFCS South Australia to continue providing the service in the Northern
The RFCS programme provides grants to non-government
organisations to provide free financial counselling to farmers, fishers and
small dependent rural businesses that are suffering financial hardship and have
no alternative sources of impartial support.
For more information on the RFCS, visit agriculture.gov.au/rfcs.
Information on the RFCS 2016-19 merit-based competitive grants round to select
service providers will be available on the department’s website and the
Austender website in due course.