Drought Communities Small Business Support Program

Drought has been tough on small businesses that rely on rural communities to survive. Through the $7 million Drought Communities Small Business Support Program, these businesses can access free financial counselling and specialist third-party advice.

We’re running this pilot program until June 2021, which will help eligible small businesses to:

  • understand their financial position
  • identify options
  • implement plans to improve their viability.

Read the program guidelines.


This service is for small businesses that:

  • have 19 employees or less
  • are experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship
  • are located in a drought-affected rural area
  • are not located within 20 kilometres of a town with a population greater than 50,000
  • are ineligible to access services under the existing RFCS program.


Small business financial counselling is available through the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) in communities across Australia where drought is having a major impact. The RFCS has successfully delivered financial counselling in rural communities for over 30 years.

A Professional Services Fund is also available to help businesses access specialist third-party advice (determined on a case-by-case basis). This includes financial planning, legal, specialist taxation and accounting advice.

How they can help

Small business financial counsellors can help you to:

  • understand your financial position and the viability of your business
  • identify options to manage the financial issues of your business
  • develop budgets and cash flows
  • create and implement an action plan to work towards your business goals
  • negotiate with your lenders and access dispute resolution services
  • identify other government and community grants, programs or schemes
  • access broader professional advice and support.

Small business financial counsellors do not give family, emotional or social counselling or financial advice. They can refer you to other professional services, including:

  • accountants
  • legal services
  • mental health services.

Find a counsellor

Talk to a small business financial counsellor. It’s a free, confidential service. They can give you individual support and create a tailored recovery plan.

Find your local RFCS office:

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

More support

Read more about support we provide for drought and other hardship.

Last reviewed: 20 March 2020
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