Improved drought assistance available to Queensland producers

Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson and ag groups have welcomed improved financial assistance available for drought-affected Queensland primary producers.leanne-donaldson

An initial allocation of $35 million will be available to Queensland farm businesses under the new loan, which has an interest rate of 2.47% and loan terms of up to 10 years. Interest-only payments are available for the first five years.

The new Drought Assistance Concessional Loans, available through QRAA, combine the best of previous drought specific programs in a single simplified package.

Minister Donaldson says previously there were separate loans for restructuring debt and for engaging in recovery activities, however producers can now access up to $1 million from a single scheme that enables them to do both activities and more.

“This means a simplified process for the applicants, making it easier for eligible producers to access the funds they need to cover operating costs, restock and replant, or undertake preparedness activities for future drought.”

“QRAA approved more than $63 million to more than 70 producers under the 2015-16 drought-related loans,” the Minister said.

grain-growersQRAA Chief Executive Officer Mr MacMillan says that recent rain and improving conditions may lead some producers to believe they are ineligible for the assistance, but urges them not to self-assess.

“You do not need to be in a drought-declared area to benefit from this loan,” he said.

“If you have suffered financially because of the drought, contact us and start the conversation – you may be surprised.”

Loan guidelines, eligibility criteria and application forms are available on QRAA’s website.

Producers are urged not to self-assess, and instead contact one of QRAA’s eight regionally based Client Liaison Officers who can guide them through the process and answer any questions.

Drought Assistance Concessional Loans are delivered by QRAA on behalf of the Australian Government in Queensland.