Government backs vital rural services
Story Added : 04th May 2011
Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig confirmed today that the Gillard Government will continue to fund the free rural financial counseling service for the next four years, which helps primary producers and small rural businesses recovering from natural disasters.
“It’s vital for those regional areas, to provide that support and structure for farmers, fishers and small businesses that are in financial hardship,” he said.
“The funding commitment will provide certainty of employment for the rural financial counselors, but the real value is being able to support regional Australia and support remote Australia with their free financial counseling service.
“The funding commitment will provide $54.9 million over four years.
“We recognise that financial counselors are a vital source of information, referrals to industry, professional and government assistance for the customers, but let’s call them what they are, these are the small business, growth engines out in rural Australia,” Mr Ludwig said.
Last year the service provided more than 10,000 referrals that assisted farmers and small businesses to identify financial and business options and negotiate with their lenders.
“It really empowers the farmers and small businesses to make their own decisions to effectively manage, change and adjust to the myriad of issues that face farming communities,” Mr Ludwig said.