$1.5M injection boosts rural counselling service
FARMERS across the Lockyer Valley in financial hardship or drought will benefit from $1,488,727 the Federal Government is delivering for the Southern Queensland Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) to extend its funding to 2020.
Member for Wright Scott Buchholz said this additional investment in the local RFCS would be welcomed by farmers in the Lockyer Valley as dry conditions continued, ensuring counsellors could meet demand.
“We breed them tough out here in the Lockyer Valley but, no matter how tough you are, there sometimes comes a point where you need a helping hand,” Mr Buchholz said.
“The RFCS is an essential service and is helping around 256 clients locally, sitting down around their kitchen tables to talk it out and make a plan for the future.
“The counsellors help clients make business decisions, plans and improvements, such as prioritising payments to creditors, negotiating with lenders, and deciding on their long-term vision.”
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the extension would be welcomed by rural communities, with around two thirds of clients stating the RFCS had helped improve their financial situation.
“The feedback speaks for itself. The program is a good one and as dry conditions continue the service must too,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The additional funding takes our total investment to more than $70 million for the RFCS from April 1, 2016, to June 30, 2020.
“The counsellors also provide vital information about other assistance such as the government’s Farm Household Allowance and support to reach their goals while on payment.
“The FHA has helped more than 7900 recipients.
“About 85 per cent of people coming off farm support said they were satisfied with the program, which would indicate it is working well.”