The Australian and NSW Coalition governments have reaffirmed their commitment to supporting dairy farmers doing it tough, with applications now open for Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans in New South Wales.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair, said the scheme would help those experiencing hardship because of the decisions by Murray-Goulburn and Fonterra to drop milk prices during 2015–16.
“Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans will help NSW dairy farmers manage through the current period of uncertainty and to return to profitability,” Minister Joyce said.
“These loans currently have an interest rate of 2.71 per cent, falling to 2.66 per cent on 1 August, and will be available for the next two years to help farmers adjust to the current challenging price environment.
“We are committed to standing by our dairy farmers—and all farmers—with a range of assistance measures designed to deliver real, tangible support when it’s needed most.
“In addition to concessional loans, in response to the reduction in farmgate milk prices we have also made more resources available to ensure that applications for income assistance through the Farm Household Allowance are actioned as quickly as possible. As at 30 June 2016, 1386 farmers or partners of farmers in NSW were receiving the payment, 49 of whom are dairy farmers,” Minister Joyce said.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water, Niall Blair, said the NSW Government is working hand-in-hand with the Australian Government to help the state’s dairy farmers doing it tough.
“The Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans will help those dairy farmers currently experiencing financial hardship or uncertainty,” Mr Blair said.
“Through this scheme, 10 year loans will be available to eligible dairy farms for debt restructuring, operating expenses and to fund modifications to a farm business to help it recalibrate its operations to lower milk prices.”
Minister Blair said he encouraged any farmer thinking about applying for a concessional loan or any other assistance measure to talk to the experts and find out more about their options.
Potential applicants can contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority toll-free on 1800 678 593 or visit raa.nsw.gov.au to clarify eligibility criteria, or any other issues relating to this assistance.