​Joint Media Release

Applications for drought concessional loans open in Queensland

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce
Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Bill Byrne


9 October 2015

Drought-affected farmers across Queensland can now apply for assistance through a Drought Concessional Loan or a Drought Recovery Concessional Loan, with 2015–16 application rounds for both schemes opening today. 

Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Bill Byrne, said the schemes provided essential assistance to drought-stricken farmers to manage the effects of drought and return to viability in the long term. 

"Queensland farmers are doing it very tough, with up to 80 per cent of the state now recognised as being in drought by the State Government," Minister Joyce said. 

"This government has listened to those farmers and we are delivering practical support to both help farmers through the drought and recover from its effects as conditions improve. 

"Through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, we are delivering on our commitment to continue concessional loans schemes by making up to $30 million available for Drought Concessional Loans and up to $15 million for Drought Recovery Concessional Loans to Queensland farmers this year. 

"With concessional interest rates currently at 3.05 per cent for Drought Concessional Loans and 2.71 per cent for Drought Recovery Concessional Loans, these loan facilities represent the cheapest finance available to drought-affected farmers. 

"Drought Concessional Loans are available for an interest-only term of five years, while Drought Recovery Concessional Loans are available for 10 years with interest-only repayments available for the first five years." 

Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Bill Byrne, said funding through the drought concessional loans schemes delivered welcome assistance to the state's farmers at a critical time. 

"Over the past 10 months, since taking on this portfolio, I have travelled to many regional communities and unsurprisingly I am seeing the devastation this ongoing drought is having on our farmers right across the state," Minister Byrne said.  

"These loans will assist those farm businesses financially impacted by the drought with debt restructuring, operating expenses or drought recovery activities. 

"Drought concessional loans schemes complement the Queensland government's $52.1 million drought package announced earlier this year." 

Minister Joyce said that 163 farm businesses in Queensland were already benefiting from the earlier drought-related loans schemes with over $90 million in loans approved up to 31 August 2015. 

"I strongly encourage any farmer thinking about applying for a concessional loan or any other assistance measure not to self-assess their eligibility and to talk to the experts at QRAA, the Department of Human Services or their local Rural Financial Counselling Service to find out more about their options," Minister Joyce said. 

Full details including all scheme guidelines and application forms for the Drought and Drought Recovery Concessional Loans Schemes are available at qraa.qld.gov.au or contact QRAA on free call 1800 623 946. 

For more information on the range of Australian Government assistance for farmers, farm businesses and rural communities, visit agriculture.gov.au/assistance.  

For more information on the range of Queensland Government Assistance available to farmers visit daf.qld.gov.au/environment/drought/assistance.