Drought loan deadline extended

The West Australian
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Farmers in Western Australia will have more time to apply for a Farm Finance Concessional Loan, with the closing date for applications extended to 30June2015.

Australian Government Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, and the Western Australian Minister for Agriculture and Food, Ken Baston, have announced that farm businesses in WA have more time to take advantage of the loans scheme.

"These loans can be used for debt restructuring or productivity enhancements, or a combination of the two. They are intended to give farm businesses some breathing space while managing debt in the short term, in addition to supporting improved productivity and profitability into the future," Minister Joyce said.

"With sowing in the WA Wheat Belt about to get into full swing this is a key period for farmers seeking finance, and I was keen to extend the application deadline to 30 June to ensure we can assist as many farmers as possible," Minister Joyce said today.

Minister Baston welcomed the extension and said that loans of up to $1million were available to eligible farm businesses, with an interest rate currently set at 4.34percent and a loan term of five years.

"Eligible farming activities include broadacre, pastoral, horticulture, dairy, intensive agriculture and aquaculture.

"This extension gives growers who might currently be busy with seeding preparations more time to apply for a concessional loan," Minister Baston said.

Minister Joyce said that the Australian Government has made a total of $25million in loans available to eligible farm businesses in WA for the 2014-15 round of the loans scheme. Funding is still available.

In addition to the $420million Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme, the Australian Government had a range of assistance measures available to farmers and rural communities experiencing hardship-including income support through the Farm Household Allowance and free financial counselling through the Rural Financial Counselling Service.

Ministers Joyce and Baston encouraged farmers not to self assess their eligibility for any of these measures, but to talk to the experts and find out more about their options.

The Drought Concessional Loans Scheme is also operating in WA. More information on both schemes, including application forms, is available the Department of Agriculture and Food website agric.wa.gov.au/rbdc or by contacting 1800 198 231 (free call within WA).

Loan applications for both Drought and Farm Finance Concessional Loans close at 5pm on 30June2015, or when funds are fully committed, whichever is sooner.

For more information on the range of Australian Government assistance available to farmers, farm businesses and rural communities, visit agriculture.gov.au/assistance.

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