EXTRA SUPPORT: Maranoa MP David Littleproud said the loans will help those farmers in hardship from the drought.
EXTRA SUPPORT: Maranoa MP David Littleproud said the loans will help those farmers in hardship from the drought. Storm Lahiff

Low-interest loans doubled for farmers in drought

AUSTRALIAN farmers can now access up to $2 million in low interest loans.

Agricultural minister David Littleproud said this was double the previous limit of $1 million.

The government also doubled the total funding available for low-interest concessional loans in any given year to $500 million.

"These loans will help those in hardship, including drought,” he said.

Good savings can be made when farmers transfer their commercial loans to low-interest loans.

"The first five years of these loans will remain interest-only,” Mr Littleproud said.

Farmers with existing government loans will also be able to switch to these Regional Investment Corporation loans to access the interest-only period.

"We made this commitment to farmers on August 19 and today we delivered,” he said.

"We can't make it rain, but we can help our farmers survive the drought which is affecting so many farming families.”

The government has announced additional support for farmers facing drought totalling more than $1.8 billion.

This support includes $75 million for the drought communities program and immediate deductions for fodder storage assets.

Since the Farm Household Allowance was launched in July 2014, the government has invested more than $230 million to help more than 8000 people, Mr Littleproud.

It provides a fortnightly payment to help farming families through tough times, with each member of a couple receiving around $12,800 a year, and single farmers receiving up to $15,350.

In addition to the fortnightly payments, recipients can access up to $1,500 for an independent financial assessment of their business.

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