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Agriculture minister David Littleproud, East Gippsland Shire Mayor Natalie O'Connell and Gippsland MP Darren Chester talking to farmers at Orbost on Wednesday evening.

Rural finance counselling

Rural finance counselling

Agriculture minister David Littleproud, East Gippsland Shire Mayor Natalie O'Connell and Gippsland MP Darren Chester talking to farmers at Orbost on Wednesday evening.

Another finance "angel" for Gippsland farmers

Federal agriculture minister David Littleproud has returned to Gippsland with funding for another rural financial counsellor to work with drought-affected farmers in the region.

The minister joined Gippsland MP Darren Chester in talking to primary producers in Orbost on Wednesday night and at Bairnsdale and Lindenow yesterday.

The additional rural financial counsellor in Gippsland is part of a further $3.7 million from the federal government for the Rural Financial Counselling Service.

The extra funding brings the Coalition’s commitment to the service to $77 million.

Speaking in Bairnsdale, Mr Littleproud said the RFCS had given crucial support to farming families during recent floods and drought.

“Rural Financial Counsellors are our angels on the ground,” Minister Littleproud said.

“One of many things they do is fill out Farm Household Allowance applications for farmers - for free.

“The RFCS itself will decide how best to use the extra $3.7 million.

“This free service helps farmers cut through red tape and access all the support available to them.

“Since August the RFCS hotline has received more than 1,300 calls for assistance.”

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Mr Chester said the RFCS was vital for farmers trying to get their heads around the range of assistance programs available.

He said he had made formal representations to the Minister seeking additional resources for the Gippsland Rural Financial Counselling Service to meet its increasing demand.

“When the priority is saving stock or water, working through assistance applications can add to the stress of local farmers,” Mr Chester said.

“The service in Gippsland will get an extra $230,000 to hire an additional counsellor and continue helping the many farmers in need of its assistance.

“Rural Financial Counsellors can provide farmers the exact information they require and also refer them other services and support programs where applicable.”

For more information on Rural Financial Counselling Services visit: agriculture.gov.au/rfcs

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