Queensland is expected to soon strike a deal with the Australian government that could ensure the state with access to $60 million in concessional loan assistance, the Beef Central reports, citing Queensland agriculture minister John McVeigh.
McVeigh said he was closer to negotiating the funding with the new Federal agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon that could help local farmers support their activities. This happens three months after the Federal government announced the release of a $240 million emergency relief fund for farmers that could be distributed as concessional loans of a maximum of $650,000 to farmers in each of the states and the Northern Territory. The loans will be provided on the condition that businesses can prove they do need the money and have the capacity to repay the credit.
Access to the agricultural loans will be freed up once the federal government and local authorities agree on the way the funding will be delivered.
The financial package was unveiled in April, and since then Queensland has been pressuring the federal government to release the money. At present, over 40% of the state’s land is drought declared.
McVeigh assured that talks with the new minister have so far proved more than fruitful. His department has estimated that the sum, to be provided in two equal instalments over two years, will allow 150 farm businesses in the state to access low-cost loans, which will carry an interest of only 4.5%.
Recently, the Queensland government acted to protect local graziers affected by the drought, releasing $11.2 million in funding to producers in drought-declared areas in the form of land rent relief, fodder and water cartage subsidies and grants of $20,000 to producers particularly affected by water supply deficiency.