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We need to support those who are supporting our Farmers

Published on Monday, June 24, 2019

We need to support those who are supporting our Farmers

Roy Butler, Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MP

Rural Financial Counsellors are the link between drought stricken farmers and government support.

There is an alarming rate of turnover and vacancies within these financial counselling positions that would appear to be due to the under resourcing and lack of support for these crucial roles.

Currently Rural Financial Counsellors are effectively hosted by the State Government and funded by the Commonwealth Government, this arrangement has varied over the life of this important service.

These counsellors are often dealing with highly stressed farmers, who have been pushed to their limits by the protracted nature of this drought. 

I reject any notion that farmers have not made proper provision for this drought.

This drought far exceeds the normal measures of drought proofing.

This unprecedented drought means that the need for Rural Financial Counsellors has greatly increased. These counsellors are stretched thin, trying to make themselves available where they are needed. They’re also hampered by the high vacancy rate. They’re carrying out an increased workload while carrying vacant roles.

This is unfair on the counsellors and on the farmers.

It is short-sighted by the NSW Government that when increasing the availability of loans and grants they haven’t ensured that there is somebody there to actually help with accessing these loans and grants. 

It’s disappointing that more support for our Rural Financial Counsellors wasn’t delivered in the State Budget.

I’ve written to the government to seek increased support for our Rural Financial Counsellors. I make this known to the public to ensure people are aware of the need for filling vacant roles and providing administrative assistance.

To farmers and Rural Financial Counsellors across the State, I’m with you every step of the way through this drought. Keep your heads up, if you need my help please get in contact.

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