Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS)

The Australian Government has provided $15 million to fund additional rural financial counsellors and support workers to assist primary producers amid the bushfire and drought crisis.

The government has also committed funding to provide eligible small businesses in regional communities suffering the economic impacts of drought, bushfire or COVID-19 with access to free and confidential financial counselling.  

If you are facing financial hardship and need support, please get in touch with your local RFCS office.

Are you experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship?

Talk to a rural financial counsellor. It is a free, confidential service. They can give you individual support to meet your needs and help you to make the right decisions for your business.

Rural financial counsellors are located within key agricultural communities across Australia.

Find your local RFCS:

Download the financial counselling service map of Australia (PDF, 2 MB, 1 page)

Eligibility

This service is for:

  • farmers
  • fishing enterprises
  • forest growers and harvesters
  • related small business owners.

You can access the RFCS if you are experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship.

Other financial counselling available

Financial hardship in regional communities does not stop at the farm gate. Other financial counselling services are available if you are not eligible for the RFCS program. This includes services for:

Services

Rural financial counsellors can help you to understand your financial position and the viability of your enterprise. They can help you develop and implement plans to improve your financial situation.

As part of their service, rural financial counsellors can also help you to:

  • identify your financial and business options
  • negotiate with your lenders
  • identify other assistance schemes
  • apply for Farm Household Allowance.

Rural financial counsellors do not give family, emotional or social counselling or financial advice, but can refer you to other professional services, including accountants, agricultural advisors, education, or mental health services.

Background

The Australian Government has funded this service in regional communities for over thirty years.

The RFCS program was created in response to increased financial difficulties across the rural sector due to high interest rates, the deregulation of the financial sector, drought and depressed commodity prices. It was initially intended as a short-term assistance measure, but has continued in several forms to the present day.

The Australian Government has allocated more than $105 million in funding to the RFCS program since 1 April 2016. This includes an additional $15 million announced on 14 January 2020, to fund additional rural financial counsellors and support workers to assist primary producers amid the bushfire and drought crisis over the next two years.

Further funding was also announced in 2020 for initiatives that will provide financial counselling to small regional businesses impacted by drought, bushfire or COVID-19.

There are 12 RFCS service regions across Australia. Between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019 there were more than 6,600 active clients.

RFCS program review

We recently completed a review into the RFCS program.

Outcomes of the review are now available in the Internal review into the 2016 to 2020 Rural Financial Counselling Service program report.

Contact

Call 1800 686 175 to be referred to your nearest RFCS office.

More support

Read more about support we provide for communities affected by drought, bushfires and COVID-19.

Last reviewed: 30 July 2020
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