Services help connect those in need to support

Landholders in areas of the SA Arid Lands feeling the impacts of long-term drought conditions and uncertainty of COVID restrictions, can take comfort in knowing that Rural Business Support financial counsellors and FaBS mentors can provide advice at the end of a telephone line.

All services are free, independent and confidential for eligible clients.

The not-for-profit Rural Business Support (RBS) has an experienced team to help rural business owners manage the impact of the consecutive dry seasons and COVID uncertainty, and make strategic business decisions about the future. Rural financial counsellor Paul Erkelenz works with Pastoral region producers.

The RBS team can help by looking at government assistance options until income levels improve, exploring loan terms with existing lenders or through the Regional Investment Corporation, or business transfer or exit plans.  

“It can be challenging to ask for help, but this is where our experienced team can throw around some suggestions and perhaps provide a bit of clarity during what may otherwise seem a pretty overwhelming time,” Mr Erkelenz said.

A rural financial counsellor can support pastoral producers to:

  • Communicate with creditors
  • Access health and wellbeing supports
  • Consider other income sources
  • Apply for Farm Household Allowance (FHA) and other income support
  • Understand their financial position and the future viability of their business
  • Consider future needs and aspirations of family members
  • Consider cash flow and finance requirements
  • Negotiate with creditors and lenders
  • Make informed decisions
  • Develop strategies and action plans

Access to Rural Business Support is available on 1800 836 211 or at www.ruralbusinesssupport.org.au.

 

The Family and Business Support (FaBS) mentors also provide support to pastoral businesses and families.

FaBS mentors offer an outreach program that is supported by the Outback Communities Authority, and is available to individuals and businesses in the pastoral community. Not unlike the FBS counsellors, FaBS mentors connect those needing support to appropriate services and programs, which comes as confidential phone advice, in-home visits or even during a conversation at a community event.

While it is not a counselling service, the experienced FaBS team will listen and help you find ways to manage your situation. Mentors liaise with government and non-government service providers and can help provide connections to services.

FaBS wants to ensure pastoral businesses have taken full advantage of the available drought assistance measures. Mentors can help you access support available through the Drought Community Support Initiative, Family Household Allowance, Buy-a-Bale, RIC loans and health and well-being services.

Pastoral FaBS mentors are currently contacting all pastoral businesses to offer support and ensure everyone is aware of the available assistance.  About 70 pastoral properties have been contacted. If you haven’t been contacted, feel free to get in touch.

Your FaBS contacts are: John White 0447 787 436 (johnwhite@ruralgen.com.au), Anne Collins, 0427 486 115 (acagconsulting@bigpond.com), Ross Sawers 0417 119 547 and Judy Wilkinson 0401 122 049.