Further support for rural financial counselling service in Queensland

Published Monday, 30 August, 2021 at 01:01 PM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

Queensland’s primary producers and rural businesses will continue to have access to free financial counselling until 2024 with further joint funding by the Australian and Queensland governments.

Federal Minister for National Recovery and Resilience, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, said the Rural Financial Counselling Service in Queensland would receive over $10.6 million from the Australian Government to support Queenslanders in rural areas who are doing it tough.

“The Australian Government is investing more than $61 million nationally over three years in the RFCS including an additional $5 million boost announced as part of the 2021-22 Budget,” Minister McKenzie said.

“On the back of droughts, floods and other challenges, Queensland primary producers and rural businesses have taken a hit with the loss of the backpacker workforce and tourism due to COVID-19.

“The Australian Government is committed to providing this valuable service to rural and regional Queenslanders.”

Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the RFCS provided invaluable support.

“I am pleased that these important necessary programs are continuing, with the Queensland Government increasing it’s funding to 30 per cent of core funding – in 2021-22 this will mean $936,000 to support rural Queenslanders,” Mr Furner said.

“The RFCS is available at no cost to help primary producers understand their financial position and the viability of their enterprise. The counsellors can help develop and implement plans to improve financial situations, identify financial options and negotiate with lenders.

“They can also assist with access to additional financial advisory services including the Farm Business Analysis Assistance Program and the Queensland Farm Business Debt Mediation Service, both run by the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority.

“In addition, our funding also includes a further $1.48 million in 2021-22 for dedicated small business financial counselling and tourism financial counsellors for small and medium business operators impacted by drought, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.”  

Coordinator-General of the National Recovery and Resilience Agency Shane L Stone AC QC said the RFCS program transferred to the National Recovery and Resilience Agency on 1 July 2021.

“A smooth transition of the RFCS to our Agency has ensured communities in regional areas are still receiving the same high level of support from this trusted service,” Mr Stone said.

“The RFCS counsellors are working alongside our Recovery Support Officers, adding extra expertise to the network of locally-based staff supporting communities through disaster recovery.”

The RFCS in Queensland is delivered by the Central West Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) for North Queensland and Rural Solutions Queensland for Southern Queensland.

For further information visit recovery.gov.au/rural-financial-counselling-service or call the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.


Media contacts:

Minister McKenzie: Marnie Hobson 0407 090 230

Minister Furner: Ron Goodman 0427 781 920