Drought affected farmers encouraged to apply for assistance

FEDERAL member for Flynn is urging Queensland farmers still affected by drought to apply for assistance measures that have been made available under the Coalition Government to help communities in need.

"Times are difficult for many people across Central Queensland and farmers should think about the assistance programmes that are available," Mr O'Dowd said.

"We need to consider the impacts of drought on farmers, rural businesses and the flow-on effect to families."

Mr O'Dowd is encouraging farmers to contact QRAA regarding the $45 million in concessional loans that has been made available during 2015-16 for those hurt by the Queensland drought.

Drought Concessional Loans, currently with an interest rate of 3.05 per cent and with a five-year term, help farmers experiencing drought to restructure existing debt, or to fund operating expenses or drought preparedness and recovery activities.

"More than 260 Queensland farmers have been approved concessional loans under the Coalition," Mr O'Dowd said.

"This is a positive step in addressing a negative situation and I want to remind farmers that the assistance is there to be used."

The Flynn MP said that in addition to concessional loans, there were a range of additional Commonwealth measures available for farmers experiencing hardship as a result of drought.

"Our government has also allocated $10 million to control wild dogs, other pest animals and weeds via the Queensland Government's Feral Pest Initiative," he said.

"Small rural communities that are suffering financial hardship and have no alternative sources of advice can also seek free financial counselling under the Rural Financial Counselling Service."

In 2015-16, $2.85 million has been allocated to RFCS providers in Queensland, with 584 clients receiving help from this service in the first quarter of this financial year.

The Department of Human Services delivers the Farm Household Allowance. More information about this assistance is available by calling the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316.

The Australian Taxation Office has a dedicated hotline to provide advice to drought-affected taxpayers (13 11 42, select option 3). Nationally they've received more than 8,300 calls already.

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