Western Australian farmers can now apply for an Australian Government drought concessional loan.
Geraldton MLA Ian Blayney said today he wished to ensure all farmers throughout Geraldton and the Mid West understood that $20 million in drought concessional loans are now available and access to these loans was a priority.
Mr Blayney said drought concessional loans of up to $1 million or up to 50 per cent of eligible debt, whichever is lower, will be available to eligible farm businesses at an initial rate of four per cent for a five year period.
To be eligible for drought concessional loans, a WA farm business must be experiencing a one in 20 year drought event, or a one in 10 year drought event that has caused significant financial impact.
Mr Blayney said applicants must submit a valid Bureau of Meteorology ‘Rainfall Deficiency Report’ as part of their application.
Drought concessional loans will be available for:
- Debt restructuring: applicants can use the concessional loan to restructure a proportion of their existing eligible debt at a lower interest rate.
- Operating expenses: applicants can use the concessional loan to fund operating expenses that are necessary to continue the normal operations of the farm business.
- Drought recovery and preparedness activities: applicants can use loan funds to contribute to the cost of activities to recover from and prepare for future drought.
These drought concessional loans are in addition to other forms of federal support available to WA farmers such as Farm Finance concessional loans, Farm Household Allowance as well as rural financial counselling services.
Mr Blayney said drought concessional loans will allow eligible farm businesses to restructure their existing debt at a lower interest rate and provide finance to meet their ongoing business running costs and drought recovery and preparedness activities.
Further, he said the loans are for a term of five years over which interest only payments are required. At the end of the loan period, farmers will have the option of refinancing the remaining amount with a commercial lender, or repaying the loan in full.”
Farm businesses are strongly encouraged not to self-assess their eligibility for a loan and to contact the Rural Business Development Corporation to find out more about the scheme and what is required to apply.
More information on the Drought Concessional Loans Scheme in Western Australia is available from https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/drought/drought-concessional-loans-scheme-applications-open or by contacting 1800 198 231 (free call).
For information on Farm Finance, Farm Household Allowance and other Australian Government farmer assistance measures visit agriculture.gov.au/assistance.