Drought Assistance Concessional Loans are now available to assist eligible Queensland farm businesses that have experienced significant financial impacts as a result of drought.
Even if your property falls outside of a 1 in 20 year rainfall deficient area, you may still be eligible for assistance if you can provide evidence of a significant financial impact as a direct result of the effects of drought over a two year period, which can include the forthcoming season.
The Australian Government has allocated Queensland with $50 million for the provision of Drought Assistance Concessional Loans to help drought-affected farm businesses manage, recover from and prepare for droughts and maintain prospects for long term commercial viability.
Loans for up to 50 per cent of a farm business’s final debt position to a maximum of $1 million are available.
Drought Assistance Concessional Loans can be used for:
- Debt restructuring: Applicants can use concessional loans to restructure existing eligible debt. This includes being able to restructure existing Commonwealth concessional loans.
- Operating expenses: Applicants can use funds for operating expenses that are necessary to continue the normal operations of the farm business.
- Drought recovery activities: Applicants can use loan funds to contribute to the cost of drought recovery activities including planting and/or restocking.
- Drought preparedness activities: Applicants can use loan funds to assist with the cost of activities to prepare for future droughts.
Key features of the scheme
- Assist farm businesses to manage, recover from and prepare for droughts.
- Can be used to restructure debt and / or provide new debt for operating expenses,drought- preparedness activities or drought recovery activities.
- Loan amounts can be up to 50% of a farm business’ final debt position to a maximum of $1 million.
- The variable concessional interest rate is currently set at 2.47% (from 1 February 2017).
- Maximum loan terms of up to ten years apply, with interest only repayments initially available for up to five years.
- Principal and interest repayments apply for the remaining five years of the loan, calculated on the basis of a 10-year loan term.
- The availability of loans is subject to funds being available. The scheme will close to applications on 30 June 2017.
To be eligible for a Drought Assistance Concessional Loan, you and your farm business must meet the Drought Assistance Concessional Loans eligibility criteria. Detailed eligibility criteria are available in the schemeGuidelines A Drought Management Plan is available in the scheme’s Application Form
Bureau of Meteorology Rainfall Deficiency Report
You must submit a valid Bureau of Meteorology ‘Rainfall Deficiency Report’ with your application.
This report shows whether your farm business is located in an area that has experienced a rainfall deficiency equivalent to, or worse than, a 1 in 20 year rainfall event.
Please note that a Rainfall Deficiency Report that shows your property is located outside an area that has experienced a rainfall deficiency equivalent to, or worse than, a 1 in 20 year rainfall event does not necessarily mean that you are ineligible for assistance.
An application that does not include a Bureau of Meteorology Rainfall Deficiency Report will be considered incomplete and will not be assessed by QRAA. A Rainfall Deficiency Report can be obtained using the Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian Rainfall Deficiency Analyser . Please use the following instructions to generate a report:
- Locate your farm business by using the “+” or “-“ buttons to zoom in or out on the Australian Rainfall Deficiency Analyser.
- To ensure the necessary accuracy in obtaining a valid Rainfall Deficiency Report, continue using the zoom function until you have positively identified the location of your property. To avoid selecting a neighbouring property in error, make your selection well within your property boundaries. An incorrect report will cause delays in processing your application.
- Once you have accurately located your farm business, click your mouse and an option to download a Rainfall Deficiency Report becomes available. Click “download report”, and then print the Rainfall Deficiency Report and attach it to your loan application.
- Alternatively, you may enter the individual latitude and longitude co-ordinates of your farm business location (if known).
- Your Rainfall Deficiency Report will be valid for a period of 60 days and forms part of your loan application. If you are unable to lodge your application within the 60 day period you will need to obtain a new report.
The Australian Rainfall Deficiency Analyser is updated on the 23rd of each month (or next business day).
When assessing applications, QRAA will verify information provided by applicants.