Vicki Beitz, Jenny Whip, Nathan Wichlacz of the Rural Financial Counselling Service (Roma).
Vicki Beitz, Jenny Whip, Nathan Wichlacz of the Rural Financial Counselling Service (Roma).

Help always on hand for bush battlers

PHYSICALLY, emotionally, and financially, the impacts of the current drought are dramatic.

And as even more shires in Queensland are becoming drought declared, the strain on graziers is only becoming greater.

At the Rural Financial Counselling Service, last week’s announcement that eight more shires are now under a drought declarations was not surprising – in fact, it was anticipated – and in these trying times, it is reminding landholders of the west that help is only a phone call away.

“Nearly 70 per cent of Queensland is now drought declared and the financial stress on primary producers and small businesses in all areas across the state is immense,” Rural Financial Counselling Service Southern Queensland CEO Jenny Whip said.

“Calls for assistance from the RFCSSQ have been at record levels for the last 12 months and they just keep increasing, but we are still urging drought affected producers and small businesses to contact us.”

In Roma, the RFCSSQ team includes locals Vicki Beitz and Nathan Wichalz, while Charleville can look to Angie Bowden and Teri Sommerfield.

But no matter where the counsellors are based, their collective message is simple: help is on hand for the southwest.

“We can help with applications for Farm Household Allowance Scheme, Regional Investment Corporation concessional loans, Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority concessional loans, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Drought Relief Assistance Scheme and assistance packages from the Department of Transport and Main Roads and Department of Natural Resources, Mining and Energy,” Ms Whip said.

“We can’t make it rain, no one can but there are support programs that do make a difference for our farmers and small business operators.

“The service is experiencing wait times for appointments but it is important to make contact so that information of the latest assistance can be provided.

“With the high volume of calls and assistance and appointment requests, we have developed specific program information packages which provide a snapshot of the assistance that is available and the process of applying for some of these schemes being available electronically or hard copy.”

Want to talk to someone?

Roma: 4622 4858

St George: 0447 760 743

Charleville: 4654 3455


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