​​​Media Release

​Drought concessional loans now available to NT pastoralists and farmers​​​

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce
NT Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries, Gary Higgins MLA

9 March 2016

Drought-affected pastoralists and farmers in the Northern Territory can now apply for drought concessional loans under the 2015–16 round of the scheme.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and NT Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries, Gary Higgins, said the concessional loans allow pastoralists and farmers doing it tough because of drought to restructure existing debt, fund operating expenses or drought preparedness and recovery activities.

“In 2015–16, the Australian Government is making $10 million in loans available to NT pastoralists and farmers to help them deal with the effects of drought,” Minister Joyce said.

“Drought is one of the most significant challenges faced by our agriculture sector and we are committed to delivering practical support when and where it’s most needed.

“Under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper we are making sure farmers and pastoralists have more certainty about the support they can access during drought by providing access to drought-related concessional loans in 2015–16.

“We have also committed up to $250 million nationally each year for a new, more flexible and streamlined concessional loans product that will be available for 10 years from 2016–17.”

Minister Higgins said farmers and pastoralists who may be experiencing financial difficulty as a result of drought conditions are encouraged to take advantage of the available concessional loans scheme.
“This is an opportunity to apply for assistance, advice and support on eligibility. Terms and conditions are available from the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries via the web link,” Minister Higgins said.
“I encourage local producers not to self-assess. Farm businesses can be eligible if they meet the rainfall deficiency criteria.”

A range of other government assistance is available to farmers in drought, including:
  • ​the Farm Household Allowance, a demand-driven programme with no requirement for a drought declaration for eligibility
  • Rural Financial Counselling Services   
  • a dedicated ATO hotline (13 11 42) to provide advice to taxpayers in drought-affected areas
  • a $3.3 million Bureau of Meteorology project to give farmers more localised, accurate and frequent seasonal forecasts.
​To find out more about drought concessional loans in the NT, visit www.dpif.nt.gov.au/concessionalloans.

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 Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, visit agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au.