Victorian Government welcomes announced drought loans but expresses concern over eligibility

Victorian Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford has expressed concerns regarding the eligibility conditions for drought loans set forth by the Federal Government stating that numerous Victorian farmers are likely to miss out on the support.

Image credit: flickr user Aasif Iqbal J

“After a number of delays by the Federal Government, I’m pleased this much needed support is finally flowing to Victorian farmers in need. I don’t want to see farmers who need this help miss out – that’s why I’ll continue to advocate on behalf of Victorian farmers to resolve the issues around loan eligibility. Agriculture is one of Victoria’s key economic drivers, contributing $11 billion to our economy, and we need to do everything we can to support our farmers and this critical industry,” said Minister Pulford in a media release.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce announced $30 million in drought concessional loans on Friday.

“This is good news for Victorian farmers battling dry conditions across the state, especially in the west and north-west,” Minister Joyce said.

“The five-year loans of up to 50 per cent of eligible farm business debt, to a maximum of $1 million, are available at an initial concessional interest rate of 3.84%. To be eligible for drought concessional loans, a Victorian farm business must be experiencing a 1-in-20 year drought event, or a 1-in-10 year drought event that has caused significant financial impact.”

Minister Pulford added that the Labour Government will be persistent and continue to work with the Federal Government to overcome the eligibility issues.

Victorian famers can now apply for loans to help with debt restructuring, operating expenses or to help with drought preparedness or recovery activities for their farm business.

For more information on the range of Australian Government assistance for farmers, farm businesses and rural communities, please visit agriculture.gov.au/assistance.

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