Financial professionals with expertise in rural operations and financial counselling want graziers in north west Queensland to know they are available to help with preliminary discussions with the banks about how stations have been financially impacted by flooding.
The Rural Financial Counselling Service North Queensland (RFCSNQ) is a free, confidential, independent and impartial service available to all farmers in north Queensland without referral at any time but the service is poised to provide intensive support in the wake of the North Queensland flooding.
RFCSNQ CEO David Arnold says the service is local and it understands the devastation many producers are dealing with and rural financial counsellors (RFCs) will do what they can to help.
“If you are focused on the horrible clean up job left by this natural disaster, but your bank needs an interest repayment or an update on your situation an RFC can help,” Mr Arnold said.
“I urge anyone feeling financial strain at this difficult time to call 4845 4849 to be put in touch with one of our RFCs in North Queensland,” he said.
A dedicated RFC, Glenn Budden, will be based in Richmond from next week and can assist graziers in the short term to apply for state and federal government support related to the flooding.
Mr Budden has more than 20 year’s experience as a rural financial counsellor and has lived and worked through droughts and floods and will be contactable on 0467 208 451.
“The plan is to be based in Richmond initially, but once more roads open, I will be mobile and will be available as long as required,” Mr Budden said.
Longreach based RFC Rachel Bock (0427 583 096) will be setting up a mobile office in Winton on the 21st, 22nd and 27th of February.
Farm Liaison Officer Tahna Jackson and RFC Lynette McGuffie (0429 231 793) will also be operating from Charters Towers on the 19th, 20th and 21st of February.
Rural Financial Counsellors can:
- Assess your eligibility for support
- confidentially assess and prepare reports on your current financial position, cash flow and viability
- help you to understand your situation and identify financial and business options for the future of your enterprise
- help you deal with lending institutions in relation to: applications and contracts with those institutions; and processes relating to farm debt mediation
- help you identify the need for advice from, and to prepare for meetings with, professional service providers
- provide information on, refer you to, or help you access programmes provided by government or industry
- connect you with other assistance or support agencies like the RFDS
Boulia grazier and RFCSNQ Chairman, Rick Britton, is urging his fellow producers to utilize the service.
“You might think you’re ineligible or nothing you’ve read about can help you, but the RFCs have a wealth of experience, can navigate the government red tape and can talk to the bank in financial terms, so just have a conversation with them, tell them about your situation, it’s confidential - you just don’t know how they can help until you have a conversation with them,” Mr Britton said.