​Media Release

Extra funds for Rural Financial Counselling Service

17 May 2017

  • $1.6 million dollar boost to the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS)
  • Across seven RFCS regions—NSW Central, NSW Northern, NSW Southern, Qld Northern, Qld Southern, South Australia–NT, Victoria North–West

Farm businesses seeking assistance in planning their budgets will have better access to the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) thanks to over $1.6 million in additional funding from the Coalition Government.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce said this free service will assist farmers, including those transitioning off financial support from the Farm Household Allowance (FHA), by giving them free access to professionals to work through their financial situation and build financial self-sufficiency.

"The Coalition Government recognises that tough times can put severe pressure on farmers trying to manage both farm and household budgets," Minister Joyce said.

"We also recognise that farmers who will soon be reaching the end of their 3 year entitlement to the FHA may need some additional financial assistance. Many farmers will have improved their financial circumstance whilst on the allowance, however some may not. For those farmers the additional guidance in managing their finances whilst transition off the allowance will be beneficial.

"FHA is a successful program that has helped over 7,300 farmers since July 2014. RFCS can provide valuable advice to farmers who leave FHA and want to continue to improve their circumstances.

"The Government is also supporting farmers exiting the FHA by extending eligibility to Farm Business Concessional Loans which can be used for refinancing existing debt.

"The Coalition Government strongly supports the RFCS, which has supported rural communities for over 30 years, and this further funding boost will ensure Rural Financial Counselling Service providers are effectively resourced to manage demand from farmers.

"The additional resources for RFCS providers will enable them to retain skilled professionals to help farmers understand their financial situation and support them with business planning and farm debt mediation.

"The Government is working to strengthen agriculture by driving improved returns at the farm gate.

"However, where drought and temporary hardship hits the Coalition Government is prepared to support farmers and rural communities, with more than $1 billion in rural assistance made available since we were elected in September 2013.

​For more information on the RFCS visit agriculture.gov.au/rfcs or call 1800 686 175.

For more information on government farmer assistance measures, visit: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance.

Fast facts

  • The RFCS has assisted rural communities for 30 years and provides free financial counselling to farmers, fishers and small rural businesses who are suffering financial hardship.
  • Since September 2013, more than $70 million has been provided for free counselling through the Rural Financial Counselling Service

Additional RFCS funding allocations:

RFCSNew Funding
Nth-West Victoria$140,000
South Australia$140,000
Southern NSW$210,000
Northern NSW$350,000
Northern QLD$140,000
Southern QLD$420,000
Central NSW$210,000
TOTAL$1,610,000