THE HON BARNABY JOYCE MP
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR NEW ENGLAND
MR DAVID LITTLEPROUD
LNP CANDIDATE FOR MARANOA
The Coalition Government is delivering an extra $100,000 towards keeping rural financial counsellors working alongside farmers experiencing drought or hardship in southern Queensland, with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce and LNP candidate for Maranoa David Littleproud announcing the additional funds in Kingaroy today.
Minister Joyce said the grant meant Rural Solutions Queensland Inc. could retain counsellors whose funding would have otherwise expired on 30 June.
“Queensland farmers have experienced extraordinary times which call for extraordinary support, Mr Joyce said.
“The Coalition knows drought conditions don’t just hit farmers, they hit every business – big and small – in a community and that’s why we’ve decided to allocate the extra funding to the Rural Solutions Queensland RFC service.
“Fewer agricultural dollars flowing into local businesses often leads to a drying up of the population, as people are forced to leave their communities to find other work or opportunities.
“If we can help keep our farmers, agricultural and rural small businesses ticking over with the extra advice and support from an experienced financial counsellor who knows their region and the issues they face – then it’s a great outcome.”
Mr Littleproud said a comparatively modest investment can have a massive impact at the grassroots.
“Prolonged dry periods are continuing in these areas, and even if the rains come over winter, farm recovery will take considerable time,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Client demand is very high, and it’s crucial to target communities facing some of their toughest times when it comes to managing farm finances.
Today’s local announcement is part of a larger package of extra funds being allocated to areas of increased RFCS demand that are among the hardest hit by drought including central west Queensland and western Victoria.
More than 100 RFCS counsellors are now working across Australia, delivering services to 5,000 clients in rural and regional areas.
Counsellors help farmers with options such as reviewing business plans, negotiating with lenders and referral to other government assistance. For more information on the RFCS, visit www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance/assistancerural-financial-counselling-service/