RIC CEO on ABC Eyre Peninsula Rural Report - Farm Relief Tool


BROOKE NEINFORD: But first today, the Regional Investment Corporation has created a new farm relief tool to connect farmers with Australian Government help. Loans are also available to eligible farmers of up to $2 million that can be borrowed over ten years with a current variable interest rate of 4.52 per cent. Regional Investment Corporation CEO John Howard says when farmers know where to find help, they feel more confident.

JOHN HOWARD: Because there's different departments or different areas that you can go for support, it's how do you actually know who that is or where that's available. So, in the Australian Federal Government sphere it was a collaboration between ourselves, the RIC, the Department of Ag, Fisheries and Forestry, so DAFF, and NEMA, which is the National Emergency Management Agency. So, giving visibility of what those organisations have and it's more around what are the details to get in contact with them so that you can get visibility of the support that's available, whether that be financial support or support from a mental health perspective as well.

ANNABEL FRANCIS: And in terms of financial support, with loans how does that work differently through RIC compared to regular bank loans? ​

JOHN HOWARD: Yeah, sure. So, our loans are predominantly shaped to help people in response to an event or to prepare for events, and the concessionality of that loan is through the interest rate. So, currently our interest rate is at 4.52 per cent. It's reviewed every six months. The other feature of our loan is the ten-year term that's in place for it and the structure of that ten-year term is five years of interest only and then five years of principal and interest, where roughly a third of the principal component is repaid. So, concessional in interest rate currently 4.52 per cent and having a ten-year term.

ANNABEL FRANCIS: So, really allowing that bit of breathing space after disaster does occur.

JOHN HOWARD: Very much so. That was the whole aim is recognising that when farmers are in need the most of being able to provide a product that actually helps them with security in favourable concessional, interest rates, visibility that you'll have that repayment locked in for a six month period - or sorry, that interest rate locked in for a six month period so that there's certainty in cash flows before that gets reviewed again. BROOKE NEINFORD: Regional Investment Corporation CEO John Howard speaking to Annabel Francis, and more information on that tool is on the Regional Investment Corporation website.