The Federal Government has launched the 2017–18 Farm Business Concessional Loans Scheme in Queensland, with an initial commitment of $50 million to support eligible drought-affected farms.
Speaking from Queensland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said this was part of the government’s $250 million commitment to provide concessional loans for eligible farm businesses nationally from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018.
“Our farm business concessional loans have proven to be a successful product for farm businesses, enabling them to refinance existing debt, fund normal operations and bankroll activities to increase productivity to build their businesses back up,” Minister Joyce said.
“Concessional loans will continue to be available to assist farmers across Queensland to rebuild their businesses following drought.
“So far more than $709 million in concessional loans have been approved to over 1,300 farm businesses nation-wide since 2013, including more than $248 million to over 430 farm businesses in Queensland.
“For 2017–18, the Farm Business Concessional Loans Scheme will also be extended to eligible Farm Household Allowance recipients who have exhausted their 1,095 day entitlement.
“These Business Improvement Concessional Loans recognise that some farmers may need further assistance to achieve their farm business plans.
“The Coalition continues to deliver farm-strengthening initiatives from the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, which had a $2.5 billion commitment to concessional loans over ten years.
“The loans have an initial variable concessional interest rate of 2.47 per cent for a maximum term of 10 years. Interest-only repayments are available for the first five years of the loan term, with principal and interest repayments for the next five years.
“Supporting viable farm businesses is firmly in our national interest. That is why we are establishing the Regional Investment Corporation. The RIC will administer the government’s $2 billion farm business concessional loans from 2018–19, as well as the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.
“The RIC will be fully operational by July 2018. Until the RIC is open for business, farm businesses in Queensland should continue to apply for concessional loans through their delivery agency, Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA, formerly QRRA).
“Our farmers contribute about $62.8 billion to our nation’s economy and stronger farm businesses mean a stronger economy. Supporting viable farm businesses to better manage through drought and hardship is firmly in our national interest.”
It is important that farm businesses do not self-assess their eligibility for a Farm Business Concessional Loan. Farmers should contact Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority for assistance and details on the application process.
The scheme is expected to be open in other jurisdictions shortly.
Source: Australian Government