Qld farmers can dip into $320m drought assistance fund
QUEENSLAND farmers will soon be able to access new financing arrangements under the Federal Government's $320 million drought assistance package.
Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said today officers from his department and the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority had been working closely with their federal counterparts to activate the drought concessional loan scheme as a matter of top priority.
"The other key part of the package, which is currently being finalised by the Federal Government, is social support and mental health assistance," he said.
"This was a key point of discussion at the Mental Health Forum that Health Minister Lawrence Springborg and I convened in Charleville last week.
"We are also working to activate the pest animal control component of the scheme, which will be critical when the drought eventually breaks."
QRAA acting CEO Tony O'Dea said the Federal Government's Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme was being successfully rolled-out across Queensland in the meantime.
"In the first round, QRAA approved nearly all of the $20 million available in loans to 40 farm businesses," he said.
Mr O'Dea said the second application period had now been extended past the original closing date of March 30, with a further $30 million available.
To date, 32 applications had been received, nine approved to the value of $7.77 million with a further 15 applications currently being assessed.
Farmers who want to apply for drought relief assistance including the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate should contact the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on 13 25 23 or access the claim forms and applications at www.daff.qld.gov.au
Anyone interested in accessing concessional loans should contact QRAA on 1800 623 946 or visit www.qraa.qld.gov.au for loan application forms.