Government support programs for farming businesses and families:
Tasmanian Government Support
Update May 2016
In May 2016, to assist farmers dealing with the ongoing seasonal conditions as well as the milk price reductions across southern Australia, the following initiatives were announced:
- An additional $135,000 over three years to the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) to allow it to provide additional services to farmers. This will take the total Tasmanian Government funding to the RFCS from $40,000 to $85,000 per year over the next three years.
- The Tasmanian Government will also provide Rural Alive and Well with funding of $569,000 in 2016-17.
- The Department of State Growth’s Skills Response Unit has also been dispatched to provide advice to those in need including affected employees and farm workers.
In addition to services provided by organisations such as Rural Alive and Well, DairyTas
is also developing a number of activities. Upcoming programs include Farm Based Feed budgeting sessions and Taking Stock farm business review. For more information or to book contact DairyTas on (03) 6432 2233 or visit their website http://www.dairytas.com.au/ to view their Tactics for Tight Times program.
Previous supportOn 11 February 2016 the Minister for Primary Industries and Water announced additional energy support to farmers.Agribusiness Support Program
Free of charge financial management advice will be provided to farmers to manage and lower their energy consumption and costs. This is a joint initiative between Aurora Energy and Rural Business Tasmania.
The program includes on-farm energy usage audits to identify equipment with high energy usage and advise if any cost savings can be made.
Aurora is funding 100 half day business and financial management coaching sessions, as well as a tailored payment plan which can include the suspension of overdue account fees. The program offers financial burden relief and practical guidance to help those involved in agribusinesses who are doing it tough. It also complements actions we have already taken to ensure farmers have the support they need to respond to challenging drought conditions, which included additional funding for Rural Business Tasmania.
Contact Aurora Energy or Rural Business Tasmania to find out more about the program.
On 17 January 2016 the Minister for Primary Industries and Water announced additional measures to support farming families. These are in addition to the measures announced on 2 November 2015.
$110,000 for the Rural Relief Fund
- In times of crisis and financial hardship the Rural Relief Fund supports farming families and their communities in their time of most need. Run by Rural Business Tasmania (RBT), the Fund gifts crisis relief to eligible farmers based on urgency and the level of support required. Family and animal welfare, as a priority, is taken into account and as such funds can cover everything from basic household goods including food to the repair of damaged fences and stock feed. It would be a 48-hour turnaround from request to payment for eligible recipients.
- Grant applications are available at Rural Business Tasmania’s website www.ruralbusinesstasmania.org.au or by downloading the attached form and posting to Rural Relief Fund PO Box 322 Launceston Tas 7250 or Fax: 03 63 340979 or email to email@example.com.
AD-09 RRF Application Authorisation 2016 (449Kb)
AD-09 RRF Application Authorisation 2016 (144Kb)
An additional $70,000 to Rural Alive and Well (RAW)
RAW is a unique psycho-social support program that provides one-on-one outreach services to rural families with the specific aim of preventing suicide and facilitating community resilience. This investment brings to $100,000 the amount invested in RAW since November 2015.
On 2 November 2015, the Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water announced the following initiatives to support Tasmanian farmers. The initiatives below are in addition to the $10 million
AgriGrowth Concessional Loan Scheme and an additional $80,000 provided to
Rural Business Tasmania for agri-business planning providing farmers with case studies, coaching and practical tools in areas such as managing seasonal conditions.
$2.2 Million to extend the subsidy for new irrigation electricity connections
This is an extension to an existing program for eligible
NEW irrigation electricity connections. The Tasmanian Government will continue the existing 75 per cent subsidy in up-front connection costs with an additional $1.1 million to be made available each year for two years from 2017-18.
Customers who are going through the new connection process will be flagged for this subsidy by TasNetworks who will assess eligibility for the subsidy.
There is information about this policy on the TasNetworks web page, Customer Capital Contributions Policy, or if you wish to find out further information about new connections contact TasNetworks on
1300 12 7777 Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.
Feed and Fodder Register
The Tasmanian Government is providing $44,000 to the
Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) to tackle feed and fodder shortages during dry conditions. TFGA will reinvigorate its state-wide fodder register and move to a wholly online service with farmers able to enter and edit details themselves. For further information, refer to www.tasfodder.com.au or phone 1800 154 111 (within Tasmania).
Rural Alive and Well (RAW)
With ongoing demand for RAW's fly-in, fly-out presence on King Island, this service has been provided with an additional $30,000 to allow an outreach worker to spend three days per month on the Island for the next year. This is in addition to $1million committed to RAW state-wide in the budget. Visit the
for further information or phone 1300 HELP MATE (1300 4357 6283).
Australian Government Support
Dairy Support package
The Australian Government announced it will provide support for Australian dairy farmers who have had their incomes retrospectively cut by dairy processors Murray-Goulburn and Fonterra.
The key elements of the support package are:
- $555 million in Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans
- $20 million to fast track the upgrade of the Macalister Irrigation District (Victoria)
- $2 million to establish a commodity milk price index.
- $900,000 for an additional 9 Rural Financial Counsellors in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales
- $900,000 for Dairy Australia’s “Tactics for Tight Times” Program
In addition to the above, they will fast track Farm Household Allowance applications with 18 more Department of Human Service employees processing claims, appoint a Department of Human Services Dairy Industry Liaison Officer and redirect two Department of Health and Human Services Mobile Service Centres to dairy regions.
The Government will make immediately available $55 million in Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans for Murray-Goulburn and Fonterra suppliers this year, as well as access to $500 million in concessional loans over 2016-17 and 2017-18 years. The recovery loans will be for terms of 10 years. The concessional loans will be funded by expanding the drought concessional loan scheme to include dairy-specific criteria.
For more information on the dairy support package contact the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132316 which is running on extended hours from 8am to 8pm each week day.
Managing Farm Risk programme
The Managing Farm Risk Program provides rebates for advice and assessments to help farmers prepare and apply for a new insurance policy that assists with the management of drought and other production and market risks.
These one off rebates will be for half of the costs incurred by eligible farm businesses up to a maximum of $2,500 (GST exclusive). The rebates are not for insurance policy premiums.
To find out the eligibility criteria and how to apply go to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Managing Farm Risk programme web site.
Drought Concessional Loan Scheme
Update January 2016
On 26 February 2014 the Australian Government announced up to $280 million in concessional loans to eligible drought-affected farm businesses for debt restructuring, operating expenses and drought recovery activities.
On 26 January the Drought Concessional Loan Scheme (Tasmania) was opened for applications.
This will make $10 million in concessional loans available to eligible drought-affected farm businesses for:
- debt restructuring: Applicants can use the concessional loan to restructure a proportion of their existing eligible debt at a lower interest rate;
- operating expenses: Applicants can use the concessional loan to fund operating expenses that are necessary to continue the normal operations of the farm business; and
- drought recovery and preparedness activities: Applicants can use loan funds to contribute to the cost of activities to recover from and prepare for future drought.
Application forms and eligibility criteria can be downloaded by visiting the Department of State Growth.
Farmers requiring immediate advice and support can contact the Rural Financial Counselling Service provided by Rural Business Tasmania on 1300 883 276, the Department of Human Services Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316, the ATO Drought Assistance line on 13 11 42 (Option 3) or the Tasmanian Department of State Growth on 1800 440 026 or visiting www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au
Other Australian Government Support
Rural Financial Counselling
As part of the national Rural Financial Counselling Program,
Rural Financial Counselling Service Tasmania (RFCST), provides confidential and independent counsel to primary producers, fishermen and small rural businesses that are suffering financial hardship, and that have no alternative sources of impartial support. For further information visit the
RFCST webpage or contact them on 1300 883 276.
Farm Household Support Payment
There is a
national farm household support payment
. Further information is available at:
Farm Management Deposits and Tax
Access will be maintained to the current Australia-wide primary producer taxation concessions, including the Farm Management Deposits Scheme and income tax averaging. It is recommended that you should seek advice from financial professions before making any adjustments.
The following Australian Taxation Office links will assist you in finding out about tax concessions that can be accessed by primary producers.
Social Support Services
Personal Helpers and Mentors is an Australian Government program established for targeted community mental health care.
The links will take you to the service provider in the following Tasmanian areas:
Rural Alive and Well is a non-profit organisation delivering suicide prevention, intervention and community well-being services state wide.
Social and Community Support Measures for farming families and communities - Australian Government Department of Social Services.