Financial assistance

Rural Financial Counselling Service

As a first step - any primary producers and small rural business owners who are experiencing financial difficulties or who have concerns about the financial impacts of the continuing dry season can contact the 'Rural Financial Counselling Service'.

This service provides free, confidential and impartial business support and information.

The Rural Financial Counselling Service is also able to provide support in the application process for:

  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Farm Management Deposits.

In South Australia, this program is delivered through Rural Business Support. You can contact Rural Business Support by calling 1800 836 211 (Freecall).

Rural Business Support offices are located in:

  • Ardrossan
  • Berri
  • Clare
  • Kimba
  • Magill
  • Murray Bridge
  • Naracoorte
  • Port Lincoln
  • Wudinna.

More information

On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme

The Australian and SA Governments are offering a rebate to drought affected farmers who invest in urgently-needed on-farm water infrastructure for livestock.

Eligible farmers can access a 25% rebate – up to $25,000 – on new purchases and installation costs for on-farm water infrastructure to help them provide water to livestock in the current drought and be better prepared for future dry conditions.

Find out if you are eligible and how to apply.

Drought Assistance

SA - Country Women’s Association

The South Australian Country Women’s Association (SACWA) is working with Australian Red Cross and Rural Business Support to provide financial assistance of up to $3,000 to farmers in drought affected regions of the state.

Any farming or rural families in South Australia, seeking assistance can discuss eligibility and the application process by calling Rural Business Support or email

Buy-A-Bale/Rural Aid

Rural-Aid and Buy-A-Bale are now delivering much-welcomed support in the form of hay and fodder drops, as well as financial assistance to drought-affected farmers and communities in South Australia.  To register for support go to Buy-A-Bale.

If you want to donate to any of these very worthy charities and support their efforts go to our Donations and Appeals page.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is delivering assistance on behalf of the Federal Government’s Drought Community Support Initiative(DCSI). Financial assistance can be provided to assist with bills or as cash and vouchers. Personal support is alsoavailable through its network of Rural Chaplains.

Go to Salvation Army drought page or call 1300 551 030.

St Vincent de Paul (Vinnies)

Vinnies is delivering assistance on behalf of the Federal Government’s Drought Community Support Initiative (DCSI). This initiative provides cash and vouchers to eligible recipients. Drought assistance is available to farmers, farm workers and farm suppliers/contractors in eligible local government areas.

Call 13 18 12 or go to Vinnies drought page.

Emergency Relief

People who require financial assistance due to drought may be eligible for help through the Emergency Relief program. Emergency Relief is delivered by community organisations to help with immediate basic needs durng a crisis. Assistance includes: part-payment of utility bills; food, transport or chemist vouchers; food parcels or clothing; and/or budgeting help.

Go to Grants Service Directory to find a provider offering Emergency Relief support.

Additional business and financial assistance can also be found through the following services and programs:

Australian Taxation Office advice

Phone:  ATO Hotline 13 11 42
Go to drought help section of ATO website

The ATO offers financial hardship assistance related to repaying income tax or prioritising activity statement refunds.

The Federal Government also announced changes to the accelerated depreciation to encourage investment in drought preparedness. Accelerated depreciation arrangements for new water and fodder infrastructure and fencing are available to help farmers prepare for drought, assist with their cash flow and encourage on-farm investment.

These measures include:

  • depreciation of water facilities over 1 year (previously 3 years)
  • depreciation of fodder infrastructure storage over 3 years (previously up to 50 years)
  • depreciation of fencing over 1 year (previously up to 30 years).

More advice on tax options and federal government assistance is available on this Supporting Farmers and Rural Communities Fact Sheet (PDF 1.0 MB).

Farm Business Concessional Loan Scheme

Go to farm investment loans page

The Federal Government provides low interest loans for farmers for farm investment, debt restructuring, operating expenses and drought recovery and preparedness activities. These loans are now administered by the Federal Government’s central entity, the Regional Investment Corporation.

The loans include:

  • variable interest rate, currently 3.58% (as at 28 August 2018)
  • loan terms of 10 years, including an interest only period
  • up to $2 million.

Of interest to SA:

  • producers may be able to demonstrate they are drought-affected if for example they have increased cost of production due to demand for fodder from Eastern states
  • producers may re-finance old concessional loans and business related credit card debt if eligible.

Farm Debt Mediation

Office of the Small Business Commissioner
Phone: (08) 8303 2026 or 1800 702 722
Go to Small Business Commissioner website

The new Farm Debt Mediation Bill enforces a mandatory mediation process before a creditor is able to foreclose on a farming operation. The legislation ensures South Australia’s farmers will be better protected and have greater financial security.

Farm Household Allowance (FHA)

Phone: Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316
Go to drought and rural support assistance measures page

The Farm Household Allowance (FHA) provides eligible farmers and their partners who are experiencing financial hardship with assistance and support to improve their long-term financial situation. The Federal Government recently announced changes to the FHA, which may benefit your farming family.

The changes include:

  • An additional FHA supplement of up to $12,000 for couples or $7200 for singles. The supplement will be paid in two lump sum instalments (on 1 September 2018 and 1 March 2019) To be eligible for both instalments applications need to be lodged by 30 November.
  • Increasing the asset threshold from $2.63 million to $5 million, meaning more farming families will now be eligible to access FHA assistance.
  • These latest measures also follow the extension of FHA from three years to four years from August 1 2018.

Rural Business Support can help eligible families access their FHA entitlements or provide more information. You can call them on 1800 836 211.

Farm Management Deposits (FMD)

Phone: For Australian Taxation Office business tax enquiries phone 13 28 66
Go to the farm management deposits scheme page

The FMD Scheme assists primary producers to deal more effectively with varying income.

The scheme allows eligible primary producers to set aside pre-tax income from primary production in years of high income, which they can draw on in years of low income.  Income deposited into an FMD account is tax deductible in the year the deposit is made. It becomes taxable income in the year in which it is withdrawn.

Legal assistance

Legal Advice Line

Phone: 1300 366 424 (local call costs except for mobiles)
Go to Legal Services Commission of SA website

Free telephone legal advice is available for preliminary information, advice and referrals.

Legal Aid

Phone: 1300 366 424 (local call costs except for mobiles)
Go to Legal Services Commission of SA website

When services beyond simple legal advice are needed, the Legal Services Commission of South Australia can arrange a Legal Aid grant to be paid direct to a lawyer to cover legal costs. However, if legal aid is granted, you will have to pay a contribution towards your legal costs, depending on what you can afford.

Multi-Peril Crop Insurance

South Australia recently waived the stamp duty fees on multi-peril crop insurance – which can reduce the cost by several thousand dollars. Multi-peril crop insurance covers production costs incurred by farmers if their crop fails due to a nominated peril – which in South Australia includes drought.  For more advice reach out to your local Rural Financial Counsellor or agriculture/business consultant.

Telecommunication Bill Assistance

Contact your telecommunication services directly or a Rural Financial Counsellor to assist with negotiations. All telecommunications services have hardship policies to allow people who are doing it tough to negotiate payment arrangements. Most will provide flexibility with the following;

  • Long term payment arrangements
  • Reviewing and removing administrative fees
  • Placing customers on more affordable plans
  • Conversion to pre-paid services
  • Allowing incoming and emergency calls only to fixed lines.
Page Last Reviewed: 05 Apr 2019
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