Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson has welcomed improved financial assistance available for drought-affected Queensland primary producers.
The New Drought Assistance Concessional Loans, available through QRAA, have been designed to make it easier for applicants to access funds.
“Where previously there were separate loans for restructuring debt and for engaging in recovery activities, producers can now access up to $1 million from a single scheme that enables them to do both activities and more besides,” the Minister said.
“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.”
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 per cent and loan terms of up to 10 years. Interest-only payments are available for the first five years.
“QRAA approved in excess of $63 million to more than 70 producers under the 2015-16 drought-related loans,” the Minister said.
“The resilience and determination of Queenslanders through this drought has been nothing short of inspiring, and I look forward to seeing QRAA continue to help them meet their challenges – no matter which stage of recovery they may be in.”
QRAA Chief Executive Officer Mr MacMillan said 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. “Contact us and start the conversation – you may be surprised.”