Loans for drought stricken farmers could start soon

LOANS for farmers struggling with the drought could soon be activated, a month after the Abbott government first announced the $300 million drought package.

The Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and his department have spent the past month negotiating the details with state governments, which he hopes to sign off on early next week.

The concessional loans will still have to go through the Queensland and New South Wales governments' authorities.

But Mr Joyce said the $280 million in loans were still not finished.

"While I have asked my department to progress these negotiations as a matter of priority we need to ensure that the governance arrangements concerning the loan rollout are strong as we have a responsibility to all Australians to ensure government funds are spent wisely," he said.

Mr Joyce said the existing Farm Finance loans and the extra income support under the drought package were still available, and those on Farm Finance loans would be able to transfer the loan to the drought package.

"I encourage any farmer who might be thinking about applying for a concessional loan to go ahead and apply under Farm Finance to access assistance as quickly as possible," he said.

"I've asked my department to work with delivery agencies to make the application and transfer process as streamlined as possible."



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