New England urged to apply for interest-free drought loans

18 Sep 2020

Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, has urged debt-laden landholders and businesses to take advantage of two-year interest free loans before terms change on 30 September.

Currently, loans of up to $2 million are available for farm businesses and up to $500,000 for agriculture dependent small businesses from the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC).

These loans were announced by the Australian Government last year in response to the severe drought conditions that were being experienced in many parts of the country.

Loans can be used to refinance existing debt or fund activities such as replanting and restocking or operating expenses.

“This is a no-brainer,” Mr Joyce said.

“Farms and businesses which have taken on extra debt can get the government to pick up the cheque on interest payments for 24 months, obligation-free.

“If you’re an ag-dependent business, you can also use the no-interest loan period to pay suppliers, wages, rent or operating expenses while you get on top on your finances.

“Once the two-year period ends, you pay interest-only for the next three years, then principal and interest for the remaining five years of the 10-year loan term.”

To qualify for the two-year interest free period, applicants must submit a completed loan application to the Regional Investment Corporation on or before Wednesday 30 September 2020.

From 1 October, loan terms will change to a five-year, interest-only period, followed by principal and interest for the remainder of the loan.

For more information about eligibility and to apply visit:


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