MORE than $900,000 in extra federal funding has been provided to the Rural Financial Counselling Service in regional areas of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said a total of $1.8 million has been delivered to extend financial counselling assistance for up to 500 additional drought affected farmers in 2015–16.
The latest funding boost of $920,000 for the RFCS has been allocated taking into consideration evolving drought conditions, to ensure service providers will have skilled staff available to help farmers when they need it, he said.
“There are a number of areas across Australia experiencing prolonged drought that have been funded to meet increased demand for RFCS services that can’t be met with existing resources.
“Victoria and South Australia’s RFCS providers will receive a boost following from the unseasonably dry spring impacting on major grain production areas and the high temporary water market prices facing irrigators,” Mr Joyce said.
“The RFCS can support farmers with business planning, farm debt mediation and helping them access sources of professional, industry and government assistance,” he said.
The $1.8 million includes $730,000 to Queensland providers, $400,000 to New South Wales, $420,000 to Victoria, $160,000 to South Australia and $90,000 to Western Australia.
“These funds are in addition to the $14.3 million Commonwealth funding already allocated to the RFCS programme in 2015–16,” Mr Joyce said.
Source: Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.