Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
The Honourable Mark Furner
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Queensland Farm Debt Restructure Office opens
The Palaszczuk Government has established a dedicated office to assist Queensland primary producers experiencing financial distress access free expert financial analysis and advice.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Farm Debt Restructure Office was the Government’s latest initiative in the ongoing commitment to the agricultural sector and the issue of rural debt delivering a number of protections for Queensland farmers.
“The Office provides eligible primary producers with a no-fee, no-obligation assessment of their business and financial position, to help them make informed decisions on the future of their agricultural enterprise,” she said.
“The Office will be overseen by the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority and it will work with the Authority’s network of nine offices, including the office here in Roma.”
“My Government is working to grow our primary industries sector. It’s a vital contributor to our economy and the backbone for rural and regional Queensland. I welcome the recent AgTrends forecast for the total value of Queensland’s primary industry commodities for 2017-18 to be almost $20 billion -$19.87 billion.”
Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner said the assistance doesn’t replace a producer’s existing financial providers or advisors, but complements them by offering an alternate opinion.
“Farm Business Analysis Assistance offers eligible farmers with detailed, expert options from an approved rural finance professionals at a level that the producer may not be able to afford at their time of distress,” he said.
“The report which follows an on-farm visit will give realistic options and ideas on how to repair, reduce or rationalise farming activities within the available resources, for the best possible outcome for the farmer and their family.”
The initiatives were part of the Farm Business Debt Mediation Act 2017 passed by the Queensland Parliament last year and include the now mandatory Farm Business Debt Mediation introduced to prevent foreclosure on farm debt without a fair and equitable mediation process.
“The passage of the same Act, has also seen the re-commencement of the biennial Rural Debt Survey to provide an informed and up to date picture of rural debt in Queensland.
“Now with the establishment of the Farm Debt Restructure Office, I’m thrilled to see it now in place and ready to assist eligible primary producers.”
Other highlights of the performance by QRIDA, which was formerly the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority, last financial year included:
• over $268.7 million was approved for 5,950 applications in financial assistance across all loan, grant and rebate programs. This compares with 1,220 applications and $124 million in 2015-16.
• uptake of First Start and Sustainability loans under the Primary Industry Productivity Enhancement Scheme (PIPES) increased significantly, with 257 applications approved for $116.4 million. The value of loans is almost double the $64.5 million lent in 2015-16;
• $6.2 million was approved for 896 applications in 2016-17 under the jointly funded Australian and Queensland Government Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) loan and grant schemes for Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie event;
• established the Farm Management Grants program in March 2017 to assist farming families with rural succession approving 46 applications for a total value of over $83,000 in 2016-17;
• established the new mandatory Farm Business Debt Mediation program from 1 July 2017 and
• opened our ninth regional office in Cloncurry servicing north west Queensland. The other offices are in Bundaberg, Innisfail, Kingaroy, Emerald, Mackay, Rockhampton, Roma and Toowoomba.
For more information on eligibility and how to apply for Farm Business Analysis Assistance through the Farm Debt Restructure Office, primary producers can visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au/fdro or Freecall 1800 623 946 and ask to speak to the Farm Debt Restructure Office.
- Geoff Breusch (Premier’s office) 0417 272 875
- Brock Taylor (Minister’s office) 0427 018 178