AGFORCE has welcomed the establishment of a new Farm Debt Restructure Office to assist Queensland farmers in financial distress to access expert advice.
AgForce general president Grant Maudsley said with more than two-thirds of Queensland drought declared, many primary producers were still doing it tough and the new office could assist those with debt difficulties.
“The prolonged and severe drought has taken an enormous financial, environmental and emotional toll on farming families right throughout Queensland.
“Many regions in western Queensland were first officially drought declared in early to mid-2013, so producers in those areas have effectively had five years with rainfall deficits,” he said.
“During extended dry periods, producers need to find solutions to debt challenges and the assistance provided through this new debt restructure office could help producers find those solutions.”
Mr Maudsley said AgForce had been calling for better access to professional business advice for farmers via forums such as the Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce and parliamentary inquiries, and was pleased those calls had now been heeded.
“Access to affordable financing is vital for the development of agriculture and debt is just a fact of life for many agribusinesses, with the total national rural debt reaching $72 billion in November 2017 and an average debt of about $637,000 per Queensland farm,” he said.
“AgForce is eager for primary producers to address any problems with non-performing debt as soon as they emerge, and this new office could help give eligible producers in distress access to the advice they need about their business and financial position to make informed decisions.”
More information about the Farm Business Analysis Assistance program and the Farm Debt Restructure Office is available at www.qrida.qld.gov.au/fdro or free call 1800 623 946.
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