Additional funding supports primary producers

BOOST: Rural Business Support chief executive officer Brett Smith said it welcomed the funding announcement. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Rural Business Support has received a significant boost with the announcement of $1.7 million in additional federal government funding for its Rural Financial Counselling program.

The additional funding will support services in a number of states, including South Australia, as part of the program, which assists farmers, fishers, foresters and small related enterprises.

Regions selected were done so due to the impact of severe weather events including fires and flooding, and commodity downturns.

Facing the unpredictable challenges of droughts, biosecurity outbreaks, natural disasters, and commodity downturns, Rural Business Support has delivered the service in South Australia since 2006.

Rural Business Support chief executive officer Brett Smith said it welcomed the funding announcement as it demonstrated the government was listening to farmers about challenges they were facing and the need for additional support.

“We’ve been receiving a steady increase in enquiry from red wine grape growers, primary producers who are still recovering from the Murray River flood, livestock producers and fruit and vegetable growers,” he said.

“We’ve also seen an increase in enquiries from marine scale fishers who are responding to industry reforms and abalone fishers following the AVG outbreak.

“The funding boost underpins the delivery of the financial counselling service where the need is greatest.”

Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said the extra funding would help producers and small-related businesses at risk of, or experiencing, financial hardship to access independent financial counselling.

“This is practical, hands-on support for members of the ag industry to help them plot a way forward for their business,” he said.

“The program helps build resilience into farm businesses so they can better manage potential future challenges.

“I encourage all primary producers to access the [service] before reaching crisis point.”

The team at RBS encourages any primary producer, fisher or forester concerned for their financial future to contact them for a confidential chat on 1800 836 211.