$30 million in Drought Concessional loans will be made available to Victorian farmers following agreement between the Australian and Victorian governments.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said now that the high-level settings were agreed, the focus would shift to finalising the scheme guidelines and the delivery arrangements to allow farm businesses to apply.
“I am pleased to say we have now reached broad agreement with the Victorian government, and are on the way to making these funds available to Victorian farm businesses,” Minister Joyce said.
“The loans will provide much needed help to those experiencing drought to restructure their existing business debt, meet ongoing costs of running their farm business and/or undertake drought recovery activities.
“The five-year loans will fund up to 50 per cent of eligible farm business debt up to a maximum of $1 million at an initial concessional interest rate of four per cent.
“This is in addition to the Farm Finance Concessional loan scheme already available in Victoria, which is another significant assistance measure for Victorian farm businesses in need.”
Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Walsh, said the Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria would deliver the new drought scheme.
“This is good news for Victorian farmers, with many doing it increasingly tough as dry conditions have taken hold in parts of the state, especially around the west and north-west,” Minister Walsh said.
“Prior to the Victorian Government entering caretaker mode, I signed directions for the Department of Environment and Primary Industry to work cooperatively and quickly with the Commonwealth Government to ensure these funds are made available as soon as possible.
“I welcome the announcement from Minister Joyce today that Victoria and the Commonwealth have now reached high-level agreement, and I look forward to the completion of the process so that loans can be made available as soon as possible.
“Eligible farm businesses which already have a Farm Finance Concessional Loan will be able to apply to transfer to a Drought Concessional Loan when they become available.”
“It is also important that farmers know that in addition to the drought concessional loans, loans to undertake debt restructuring and productivity enhancement activities are also available through the Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme.
“I encourage any farm businesses doing it tough already to start talking to Rural Finance.”
For more information on the Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme eligibility criteria, loans terms and how to apply, contact Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 or visit ruralfinance.com.au For more information on Australian Government farmer assistance measures visit agriculture.gov.au/assistance