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Government deploys rural advisers

The federal government has announced it will dispatch a team of rural financial counsellors to assist farmers with personal debt and farm financing matters.

The move comes as part of the government’s Fairer Finance for Aussie Farmers policy announced on Saturday, which aims to “boost support and assistance to farmers struggling with acute levels of debt,” according to a joint statement from Treasurer Wayne Swan and agriculture minister Senator Joe Ludwig.

Among a range of measures, an additional 16 personnel will be deployed to the Rural Financial Counselling Service, which the statement says is a “crucial service which provides free, impartial and independent financial advice right into the offices and onto the kitchen tables of Australian farming businesses”.

The recruits will bolster the team of more than 100 rural financial counsellers already in operation.

The reforms will also seek to enhance farm management deposits, provide farmers with access to concessional loans, and provide a new framework for rural debt mediation.