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NSW welcomes deal on farm finance package

Michael Condon, Tuesday August 6, 2013 - 15:54 EST
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Deal struck on farm finance assistance - ABC

The Commonwealth and NSW Governments have agreed on the details of the Farm Finance Scheme.

NSW farmers can now access concessional loans of up to $650,000 as part of the Farm Finance Concessional Loans scheme, NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson announced today.

"It's a significant amount of money, $60 million over two years with loans of up to $650,000."

The variable rate will start at 4.5 per cent but the loan can only add up to half of the farmer's existing debt.

The minister says about 100 farmers could take advantage of the package.

"It's for debt re-structuring. If you're in difficulty, on a high interest rate, you could re-organise that and pay a much lower rate."

The delay in signing the agreement was due to negotiations over administrative costs, which are expected to be several million dollars.

The minister says the Commonwealth will be paying those costs, although it will be managed by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority.

To be eligible, farmers need to be experiencing debt difficulties, but be viable in the long term.

"Several farmers have been looking forward to this financial assistance and this will come as a relief to those people", Ms Hodgkinson said.

The concessional interest rate for the loans will be reviewed on a six-monthly basis and may be varied to accord with prevailing economic conditions.

The Commonwealth Government is making available up to $30 million a year over the next two years in each state and the Northern Territory to provide concessional loans to eligible farm businesses to help restructure debt and invest in productivity.

For more information on eligibility criteria, loans terms and how to apply, visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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