Extension to rural financial counselling funds welcomed
CAPRICORNIA MP Michelle Landry has welcomed an extension of funding to the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) which has been helping drought-distressed farming families, small business owners and rural workers.
Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce this afternoon confirmed a further $3.5 million would be provided to existing service providers until March 31, 2016.
Ms Landry said the service was vital in regional areas where workloads had increased due to the drought impacting on up to 70% of Queensland.
"Rural financial counsellors provide a very important shoulder to lean on for advice, financial direction and even mental health support by offering someone to talk to for farmers and small rural businesses and even rural workers facing very tough conditions during the drought," Ms Landry said.
Up to 120 qualified rural financial counsellors work across 14 regions in Australia.
Ms Landry said the latest $3.5 million boost to the service comes on top of $1.8 million in additional funding previously provided for drought-affected areas. These funds are on top of the $14.3 million annual funding pool already allocated to the program for 2015-16.