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Queensland expands drought assistance, recovery loans for farmers

by ssimpkins11 minute read
Queensland expands drought assistance, recovery loans for farmers

The state government’s new drought assistance programs have been extended to all Queensland primary producers, scrapping the need for a drought declaration.

The Queensland government has expanded drought eligibility to primary producers across all agricultural industries, removing the previous requirement to be in a drought-declared region in order to access the new preparedness assistance.

The support package includes Drought Preparedness Grants of up to $50,000 and a suite of new drought preparedness, assistance and recovery loans up to $250,000.

The grants will give eligible farmers up to a maximum of $50,000 to implement drought resilience infrastructure, identified in their Farm Business Resilience Plan.


The Farm Business Resilience Program, which is backed by the federal and state governments, provides farmers with training and helps them develop a plan for their business. The resulting plan (or similar) is required to apply for drought assistance grants and loans.

Meanwhile, the new Drought Ready and Recovery Loans, which offer a concessional interest rate, are available to complement the Drought Preparedness Grants and are up to $250,000.

If a producer is impacted by drought in the future, they can access interest-free Emergency Drought Assistance Loans of up to $50,000, to help with drought-related expenses.

If more is required, farmers may be able to access Drought Carry-on Finance Loans of up to $250,000 at a concessional interest rate.

Mark Furner, Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities, commented the new programs represented a switch in the government’s mentality.

“We are changing how drought assistance is offered by focussing more on preparedness activities to help producers better manage the drought cycle, rather than waiting for a crisis,” Mr Furner said.

The reforms have followed a review of drought assistance by former AgForce chief executive Charles Burke and ex-Queensland Farmers’ Federation CEO Ruth Wade.

Queensland’s drought assistance grants and loans will complement drought resilience planning programs jointly funded by the federal government’s Future Drought Fund and the state government.

Farmers can access the new grants and loans provided they have an approved Farm Business Resilience Plan or similar that outlines actions to improve their readiness for drought.

“As promised, producers in drought-declared areas currently accessing existing assistance programs can continue to receive that assistance for as long as the area remains drought-declared,” Mr Furner said.

“They will have the option of staying on that assistance or transitioning to the new programs while they are still drought-declared.”

Over the weekend, the Queensland government also launched its third wave of funding for flood victims, including grants for renovations and raising homes, as well as a buyback for 500 flood-affected properties.

Local brokers told The Adviser the buyback scheme could risk a clawback on mortgages, but helping homeowners should take priority.

[Related: Tasmania rolls out more SME COVID support]

drought farm ta



Sarah Simpkins is the news editor across Mortgage Business and The Adviser.

Previously, she reported on banking, financial services and wealth management for InvestorDaily and ifa.

You can contact her on [email protected].


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