- New Farm Business Concessional Loans Scheme has opened to support farm businesses dealing with and recovering from drought;
- Loans provided at 2.47 per cent interest rate for 10 year term;
- Concessional loans available in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia until 30 June 2017
The Coalition Government has launched a new Farm Business Concessional Loans scheme, the latest initiative from the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce said the new scheme would provide $250 million in concessional loans funding from 1 November to 30 June 2017 to assist farmers to rebuild their businesses following drought and farm gate milk price cuts.
“The Coalition is delivering drought policy certainty to help farmers prepare for and manage through severe droughts by making $2.5 billion in concessional loans available over the next 10 years,” Minister Joyce said.
“The Coalition will be providing these loans at 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.
“The new Farm Business Concessional Loans scheme brings together the differing loans products, drought concessional and drought recovery concessional loans offered over the past two years under the Coalition, under a more flexible package.
“So far more than half a billion dollars in concessional loans have been approved to over 1000 farm businesses nation-wide.
“The new scheme includes Drought Assistance Concessional Loans to assist commercially viable, drought-affected farm businesses to continue to operate through drought conditions, recover once the season breaks, and to prepare for future drought.
“Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans will also be delivered under the Farm Business Concessional Loans package.”
Farm Business Concessional Loans will continue to be delivered on behalf of the Commonwealth by each participating state and territory government for the time being.
“The Coalition Government has committed to establishing a Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) to be the single administrator for the Coalition’s farm business concessional loans, as well as our National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.
“We have fought hard to establish the RIC because regional people are telling us this is what they want.
“This scheme will operate under agreements with participating states and the Northern Territory, to ensure drought and dairy-related concessional loans continue to be available until the RIC is fully operational.”
Applications for the scheme open today in Queensland and Tasmania and farmers in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria can now register their interest under the scheme.
Minister Joyce said applications for the 2015-16 round of Drought, Drought Recovery and Dairy Recovery concessional loans closed on 31 October 2016.
“Applications received by the closing date will continue to be assessed under the guidelines for those schemes,” Minister Joyce said.
“Our farmers contribute about $58 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 their delivery agency (QRAA in Queensland; NSW RAA in New South Wales; Rural Finance Corporation in Victoria; State Growth in Tasmania; PIRSA in South Australia) for assistance and details on the application process.
Source: Minister for Agriculture. For more information regarding concessional loans please go to: agriculture.gov.au/loans.