Drought assistance loans open for applications

Loans of up to $1 million over 10 years at variable rates starting at 3.21% are available.
Loans of up to $1 million over 10 years at variable rates starting at 3.21% are available. Ali Kuchel

PRIMARY producers can now access low-interest loans if they have suffered "severe drought" on their properties, with $50 million now open to applications.

The long-awaited drought recovery concessional loans scheme was mooted early last year, with Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce declaring them open on Thursday.

Despite the recent rains across much of Queensland, farm businesses affected by the drought can each access loans of up to $1 million over 10 years at variable rates that start at 3.21%.

The $50 million was for Queensland producers only; another $50 million in the same program was already available to New South Wales producers.

Mr Joyce said the loans could help producers get "on the road to recovery" when the season turns, to help with restocking and planting new crops.

"I urge all farmers not to self-assess but to talk to the experts about their options and eligibility - there are a range of state and federal programs available to assist farmers doing it tough across Australia," Mr Joyce said.

The loans will still be assessed under the state government's Rural Adjustment Authority's rules, despite concerns some producers missed out under the guidelines.

Topics:  drought drought assistance farming weather

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