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Merry Christmas & Merry Christmas & A prosperous New Year A


Merry Christmas & Merry Christmas & A prosperous New Year A ...

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									                                      Rural Financial Counselling
                                          Service Qld—CSR

                                 DECEMBER 2009
                                   Merr y Christmas &
                                         erous New Year
  CHAIR’S REPORT          1

                                  A prosp
  SUPPORTING &            3
    SUSTAINING CHANGE                                             From the Rural Financial Counselling
  REGION IN FOCUS—        5                                                    Service Queensland—
    ST. GEORGE &
    GOONDIWINDI                                                                Central Southern Region
                                 Welcome to the December                  regions many clients. As I have said,
  YOUR RURAL              8    newsletter of Rural Financial            we have consolidated this year and
    FINANCIAL                    Counselling Service Queensland –         we have a tremendous, permanent
    COUNSELLORS                  Central Southern Region (RFCSQ-          and experienced staff of RFC’s. Our
                                 CSR). A fitting way to wrap up the       staff range in their qualifications
                                 year is with an excerpt from the         from certified accountants through
                                 RFCSQ-CSR Chair’s annual report          to ex-agricultural bankers. Four of
RFCSQ-CSR is an organisation     below.                                   our RFCs have completed their
funded by the Australian and                                              diploma’s in financial counselling
Queensland governments to        RFCSQ - CSR is a service that delivers
                                                                          while the remaining four have almost
deliver the Rural Financial      the Australian and Queensland
                                                                          completed their studies. Every one
Counselling Service program.     Governments Rural Financial
                                                                          of these RFC’s brings to the group
RFCSQ-CSR is an entirely         Counselling program. Our objectives
                                                                          and the service, a mix of
independent organisation         and strategies are consistent with
                                                                          experiences. All are committed to
operating under the              the objectives of that program and
                                                                          the service and its priorities and it is
governance of the Remote         do not deviate. RFCSQ - CSR engages
                                                                          through this team that we will
Area Planning and                with its widespread service area
                                                                          continue to deliver a professional
Development Board based in       through a range of mechanisms, with
                                                                          service to clients in a manner
Longreach.                       one important process being
                                                                          consistent with our investors’
                                 engagement through advisory
                                                                          requirements. These people ensure
RFCSQ-CSR has experienced        members from throughout the
                                                                          our vision: That RFCSQ-CSR
Rural Financial Counsellors      region. On that note I would like to
                                                                          contributes proactively to the
based in St George,              express my thanks to these advisory
                                                                          sustainability of Australia's
Goondiwindi, Miles,              members being; from St George – Mrs
                                                                          agribusiness sector, is achieved.
Chinchilla, Emerald,             Liz Hill; Munduberra – Mr John Sharp;    Continued page 2
Longreach, Munduberra and        and at Miles – Mrs Cecily Brockhurst.
Coalstoun Lakes. This team       I would also like to thank the Rural                SUBSCRIBE
of specialists service the       Financial Counsellors (RFCs) and
regions surrounding these        their administrative support who             If you’d like to subscribe to
locations. If you are in need    have continued to provide
of assistance please call your                                               RFCSQ-CSR News please email
                                 professional support for the service
local RFC on the details                                              
Chair’s report continued...

 This past year has seen the           to the national agribusiness         he and Anne know all to well, the
 release of several major              sector.                              difficulties and rewards in making
 discussion papers regarding                                                a living from the agricultural
                                       Finally I would like to reaffirm our
 drought and dryness. I along with                                          sector as owners of Goodwood
                                       commitment to the introduction
 the Board and the RFC’s wait with
                                       of the case management approach Pastoral Company.
 anticipation on the government’s
                                       to service delivery. While there     I would also extend my thanks to
 policy approach to these reports.
                                       have been some glitches and we       RAPAD’s management team and
 As I said last year it would appear
                                       will continue to encounter them, the RFC’s in continuing their
 that the RFC service may come
                                       overall I consider the philosophy    commitment to delivering the
 under some sort of ‘realignment’
                                       to be effective, and it is           service through an ever-changing
 as a result of outcomes of these
                                       reflective of contemporary service environment.
 reports. RFC services have built
                                       delivery in similar fields to ours.
 considerable good-will in the
                                       Although I think some areas of ‘on
 community, and above all else
                                       the ground’ implementation need
 they deliver outcomes that are of
                                       reviewing, I and the Board are
 social and economic benefit to
                                       committed to achieving the
 our nation’s agribusiness sector.
                                       parameters set down.
 They provide a win-win for
 communities and government and        Before closing I would like to
                                                                           Cr Ed Warren
 I hope that any future policy         thank our Board, specifically Cr
 outcome takes note of                 Rick Britton from Boulia who has    Chair, RFCSQ-CSR
                                       taken the RFC service governance
 my comments. Regardless of
                                       under his wing. As a long term
 dryness, drought, climate change
                                       grazier, Rick and his wife Anne,
 or whatever; the RFC service will
                                       has followed in his parent’s
 remain an important contributor
                                       footsteps in the Boulia region, and

RFCSQ—CSR Annual Meeting Highlights
Rural Financial Counsellors            year they took the chance to
(RFCs) from Queensland’s               compare notes in person and
Central Southern Region came           draw from this highly
together at their annual meeting       qualified group that is the
on 30 November and 1                   RFCSQ - CSR.
December.                              General Manager David
With the region covering around        Arnold said the meeting
50 per cent of the state it’s not      proved an important team
often that the widely dispersed        building exercise as well as
group have a chance to meet face       ensuring operational integrity
-to-face. Although the group           across the region.
regularly ‘meet up’ via
                                       “Major items for discussion were
teleconference throughout the
                                       to ‘make sure we’re all on the       Above: RFC’s and guests wrap up the
                                       same page’; that the service is      annual meeting with a group photo.
                                       aligned and working well across
                                       our region, particularly with this   implementation on behalf of
                                       year’s changes to the service with   Centrelink and the introduction of
                                       the introduction of case             Prescribed Advisors,” David said,
                                       management and enterprise            “Consequently we talked about
                                       action planning,” David said.        the advisor’s role in the CCAP/TIS
                                       “Other changes that were             (Climate Change Adjustment
                                       discussed were the RFC’s role in     Program/Transitional Income
                                       proof of identification              Support).”
                                                                            Continued page 3

Annual Meeting Highlights continued...

“The agenda also included guest       about supporting change and          and accessible service to the
speakers Peter Lewis, Executive       mental health issues.                region in the New Year. On behalf
Producer from ABC’s Landline and                                           of the Rural Financial Counselling
                                    “The group was joined by two of
Dr Lisa Wright, Longreach-based                                            Service CS Region we wish our
                                    the RFCS CS Region advisory
psychologist with North West                                               clients and associates a safe and
                                    committee members – Liz Hill and
Queensland Primary Health.”                                                happy Christmas and look forward
                                    Cecily Brockhurst, as well as
                                                                           to a prosperous and wet New
Peter Lewis talked about the        RAPAD’s finance officer Sally
Landline program and the service it Graham and me,” David said.            Year.”
provides in promoting and
                                    “As with all years, 2009 has had its
supporting rural and regional
                                    challenges, but we look forward to
issues. While Lisa Wright spoke
                                    providing the same professional

 Supporting & Sustaining Change
  Longreach-based clinical psychologist, Dr Lisa Wright’s presentation at the recent RFCS-CSR annual
  meeting was a great opportunity to highlight another dimension in the RFC’s role.
  Although the RFC’s focus is on financial counselling, Dr Wright highlighted that they may find
  themselves at the frontline in rural health. In dealing with people every day and often having well
  developed relationships with them they may find themselves in situations where they need to
  understand issues beyond the financial...
  Supporting and sustaining change was one of the topics covered in Dr Wright’s presentations.

  Change is something that most people want, but very few truly achieve. Many barriers to sustainable
  change exist and that results in people making short term gains and the falling back into old ways. We are
  quick to identify a variety of environmental factors as to why we did succeed in making the change, but
  rarely do we reflect enough to understand the internal forces that prevent change from occurring.

  These internal factors are our learnt opinions, attitudes and behaviours. We
  can’t change our behaviours without first looking at our thoughts and about the      Sustainable change
  behaviours , and often we have a variety of unconscious thought process about          is a long, phased
  particular behaviours.                                                               process that involves
                                       These processes include:                         letting go of the old
                                        Memories                                      and opening to new
                                        Fears
                                        Victories
                                        Experiences

                                       Change doesn’t occur just because we want it to happen; we have to
                                       make it happen. This can involve hard work, but the prize is always
                                       worth it..This work includes:
                                        Preparing
                                        Planning
 Above: Dr Wright presenting at the     Persisting
 RFCS meeting.
 Contact details

                                       Breaking your change goals down into small steps and having small
                                       rewards for each small step you take is a useful strategy to keep the
                                       ball rolling. If the target seems too far away, we are much more
  0427 260 580
                                       inclined to allow old thoughts and habits to creek back in. Use the
                                       supports around you, if you are having trouble setting goals and you
                                       are finding old ways hard to ditch, then get some outside support.

REGION IN FOCUS...                          St George & Goondiwindi

The St George region witnessed a focus on EC
subsidy work for the majority of the reporting
period with this being lifted in early June due to
widespread rain earlier in the year, however little
rain has come since that initial fall. The global
financial crisis has had an impact in the region with
banks applying more stringent credit polices which
in a cropping region is impacting on some
As for St George, EC finished in the Goondiwindi
region in June 08.
Around Goondiwindi most of the RFC’s work was
focused on crisis assistance and management in
relation to debt mediation with lenders and
cashflows in relation to exiting agriculture and the
options available. General rain fell in early 2009
however minimal has fallen since, with winter crops
having a dry finish. Overall yields were low in the
region but quality was high.

                                                                  The RFCSQ– CS Region service region (in
     Introducing                                                  green on the map above)stretches from the
                                                                  Qld – NSW border through the Western
   Derk Abberfield                                                Maranoa, the North Burnett, Central
   RFC - St George                     primary production         Highlands through to the Central and North
                                       and small businesses.      West of Qld .
                                       “On the 15 June           This represents approximately 50 per cent
Derk Abberfield, the Rural             2009 the EC area was      of Queensland’s land mass, and as a result
Financial Counsellor for the St        halved; this has          the issues across the region are as varied as
George district, grew up in a          allowed the Service       the farming enterprise themselves.
small town in NSW where his            to concentrate on
family owned a wheat and sheep         enacting its
property. His early memories of        Enterprise Action Planning for all  George losing Agribusiness
life on the land shaped his passion    clients,” Derk said.                representation from two banks."
for agribusiness. He has lived in St
                                       “St George has not escaped the          The St George area saw fair to
George for the past 6 years and
                                       financial difficulties that have        good seasonal conditions at the
recently married a local school
                                       affected the globe in the last          start of the year, this was
teacher. During his time in the
                                       year,” Derk said, “Due to the           recognised with half of the area’s
area he has been employed twice
                                       global credit crisis, banks appear      EC declaration being removed. “At
in the role of Rural Financial
                                       to be tightening up their credit        the commencement of the season,
Counsellor and was also the
                                       policies. It has since become clear     there was reasonable planting rain
Commonwealth Bank Agribusiness
                                                    that in addition to more   but very little since,” Derk said,
Manager.                                            stringent credit           “At the time of writing this report
In the last 12 months                               policies, banks have       the Beardmore Dam level was at
the majority of                                     also taken the             approximately 11% capacity with
activities Derk has                                 opportunity to             water running out fast.”
been involved in for                                restructure their
                                                                               “With the reduction of the EC
the Rural Financial                                 operations with St
Counselling Service
have been focused on                               We can work with you to develop options and support you
EC interest rate                                   during the decisions making process...
subsidies for both

   St George & Goondiwindi

                                    work with you to develop options      standard of financial information,
                                    and support you during the            and will aim to meet any
                                    decisions making process.”            reasonable request for an
                                                                          appointment at a time and place
                                    “Client’s information is treated in
                                    the strictest confidence and our      of your choosing.
                                    services are free and independent The service is open from
                                    of financial institutions, welfare    8.30am to 5pm during weekdays
                                    agencies and government. We can at Level 2,119 Victoria Street,
                                    be a very useful tool to aid in all St George. The St George
                                    sorts of activities such a            office’s contact phone number
                                    preparing budgets, identifying        is 07 4625 5490.
Above: Local wheat crop             areas of risk in your business,
                                    preparing for a visit to a
                                    succession planner and
declared area and a lack of
                                    completing action plans to
improvement in seasonal
                                    receive grants or income
conditions it could be expected
                                    assistance. Rural Financial
that operators will be considering
                                    Counsellors also help you to
their options. These stakeholders
                                    identify any advice and training
may benefit from contacting their
                                    needs you may require,” Derk
local Rural Financial Counsellor in
the near future to help identify
ways to become self-reliant in      Rural Financial Counsellors are
business and to better manage       trained to give you a high
change and adjustment. We can                 Right: Beardmore Dam at 24%

  Debbie Cowley                      perspective on the unique           different thing.”
 RFC - Goondiwindi                   operation of a small business,”
                                                                         “The message I’d like to get out
                                     Debbie said.                        there is that our service is
                                 Since starting as the RFC in            confidential and free to farmers
A Chartered Accountant by
                                 Goondiwindi Debbie has found the        and rural businesses who want to
trade, Debbie Cowley also brings
                                 position to be the most rewarding       better prepare for the future.
personal experience from both a
                                 she’s had, “I work with a great         While some consider only using
farming and small business
                                 bunch of people across                  our service when times are tough,
perspective.                     Queensland. The best part though        I would also encourage operators
At times in the past, Debbie has is helping clients with their           who would like to enhance their
employed up to 20 people. Debbie business. That is very rewarding.”      current operations to approach
finds this experience useful to                                          us; to be as well informed as can
                                 Debbie finds one of the
draw on with her rural small                                             be before making financial
                                 challenges is in her role is a
business clients as often the                                            decisions,” Debbie said.
                                 general lack of understanding of
issues are the same from
                                 what Rural Financial Counselling   With the cessation of EC
workplace to workplace, just the
                                                 is, “I think the   (Exceptional Circumstances) in
faces are different.                             word ‘counsellor’  her area in June Debbie sees the
“I think that                                    brings to mind     RFCS playing an important role in
practical                                        images of social   helping farmers and rural
experience always                                and emotional      businesses to focus on their
helps when working                               counselling,       cashflow and operations going
with clients. It gives                           whereas financial  forward.
you a whole                                      counselling is a
                                                                    “Our service can assist farmers
different                                        completely
                                                                    with application processes as well

  St George & Goondiwindi

as provide them with more             bank proposals, business plans,      Debbie is based in the
information about what’s              retirement options, cashflow         Goondiwindi office and covers a
available out there,” she said,       analysis on various business         region within a two-hour driving
“While we don’t give advice and       options, referrals to other          radius, and also has other areas
business owners always make the       organisations as appropriate, with   outside of this circle. She can be
decisions, we do provide useful       a small but important part of the    contacted on 07 4671 4892 or
financial information to clients on   service involving debt mediation     0439 067 944.
options for their business.”          under the Queensland Farm
Clients have received assistance      Finance Strategy.
in a range of areas, for example:
interest subsidy applications,          I work with a great bunch of people across Queensland. The best
                                          part though is helping clients with their business. That is very

           Liz Hill              Liz has many attributes and roles
           Advisory              including (present and past) being
  Committee Member a Director of a Family Trust of a
                                 Farming Company; Director

                                 self-managed Superannuation
Liz Hill is one of three RFCSQ-  Fund; Director of an Investment
CSR advisory committee           Trust & Investment Company; she
members. The committee was       has roles in management &
established to assist and        strategic planning, finance and
provide guidance to the RAPAD accounting, marketing grain and
Board and management.            administration; Co-coordinator of Treasurer or Committee for a
                                 HACC services in Thallon; Census variety of Incorporated
Liz Hill, with her husband David
                                 collector in                       Community Organisations.
own and operate a mixed farming
                                 1992/1997/2001/2006; Electoral
enterprise near St George.
                                 officer; and Chairman, Secretary,

    RFCSQ – CS Region Snapshot : 08-09

       The RFCSQ - CSR has 8 Rural Financial Counsellors covering around 50 per
         cent of Queensland.
       459 clients for the 08-09 year
       13 clients in asset management
       The largest primary enterprise type dealt with are meat cattle, small rural
         businesses and wool sheep sectors. RFCs are also working across cropping and
         dairy enterprises.

Listed below are some links to services and support for individuals and
  For more information contact your local Rural Financial Counsellor
                         (details on page 4).

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
                                                         Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries
Visit the Department’s website at
                                                       For information about drought and disaster for information on:
                                                       assistance, including freight subsidies, visit the
                                                       QPIF website or contact QPIF
Exceptional Circumstances
                                                       on 13 25 23.
Professional Advice and Planning Grants to assist
drought affected farm businesses to access
professional advice to assist their drought
management and recovery processes.                      Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority (QRAA)

Australia’s Farming Future                             Visit the QRAA website at for
                                                       more information about:
The Australian Government’s climate change
initiative for primary industries comprises a          Drought Assistance
number of elements:                                     Additional Irrigators Rebate Scheme
 Climate Change Research Program will provide
                                                        Exceptional Circumstances Primary Producer
 funding for research projects and on-farm
 demonstration activities.                              Exceptional Circumstances Small Business
 FarmReady aims to help industry and primary
                                                       Drought Assistance Loans
 producers develop skills and strategies to help
 them deal with the impacts of climate change.          Drought Carry-on

 Climate Change Adjustment Program assistance         Drought Recovery
 for primary producers to adapt and adjust to the
 impacts of climate change.                            Disaster Assistance
 Transitional Income Support assists farm families    Special Disaster Flood Assistance
 in financial difficulty to manage the impacts of
 climate change on their farm business, by
 providing short term income support and advice
 and training opportunities.                           Phone support numbers
 Community Networks & Capacity Building aims to      Centrelink Pensions 1323 00
 build the leadership and representative capacity      Centrelink's Farmer Assistance Line 1800 050 585
 of target groups to strengthen community
 resilience and the productivity of primary            Lifeline/Suicide Counselling 13 11 14
 industries.                                           Parent Line 1300 301 300
                                                       Mensline Australia 1300 789 978
               Get Farming Australia
                                                       Women’s Info Link 1800 177 577
For farming and business information and referral      Kids’ Help Line 1800 551 800
services for people throughout rural and regional
Australia visit Get Farming at                         * RFCSQ-CSR takes no responsibility for information provided                                                    on the listed weblinks.

   What is the Rural Financial Counselling Service Programme?
   The Rural Financial Counselling Service Programme funds organisations to employ rural
   financial counsellors who provide free financial counselling to eligible primary producers,
   fishers and small rural businesses.
                                         What can a Rural Financial Counsellor do for you?
      CONTACT US                         If you’re worried about your business’s financial position
                                         and want to better prepare for and manage future
   CHINCHILLA                            problems such as climate change and drought, rural
   Suzanne Bowden                        financial counsellors can help you to analyse your               circumstances and to identify your financial and business
   Phone: 07 4665 7185                   options.
                                         Your rural financial counsellor can help you indentify way
                                         to become self-reliant in your business, and to better
   Emma Cook
                                         manage change and adjustment.
   Phone: 07 4987 6886                   Making the Decisions
                                         Your rural financial counsellor will work with you to
   GOONDIWINDI                           develop options and support you - but you make the
   Debbie Cowley                         decisions. Rural financial counsellors are trained to give          you a high standard of financial information, and will aim
   Phone: 07 4987 6886
                                         to meet any reasonable request for an appointment at a
                                         time and place of your choosing. They will treat all
                                         information in the strictest confidence and use it only
   John Swain                            with your approval to help you in discussions with others,
                                         such as your financial institution. Your personal and
   Phone: 07 4652 5602
                                         financial information is stored in a secure database to
                                         protect your privacy.
   Glenn Budden
                                            Here are some of the issues a rural financial
   Phone: 07 4627 2027                      counsellor can help you with:

                                            1   Analysing your cash flow and viability
                                            2   Preparing budgets, and profit and loss statements
   Tony Kassulke                    3   Identifying areas of risk in your business
   Phone: 07 4165 4544
                                            4   Improving your ability to plan your business
   NORTH BURNETT                                operations
   Kim Corfield                             5   Identifying government assistance you might                  qualify for
   Phone: 07 4127 5051
                                            6   Preparing for a visit to a succession planner

   ST GEORGE                                7   Completing action plans you may need to develop
   Derk Abberfield                              to receive grants or income assistance                     8   Identifying any advice and training you may need.
   Phone: 07 4625 5490
    The RFCS Programme aims to help primary producers, fishermen and small rural businesses identify
        ways to become self-reliant and better equipped to manage change and adjustment.”
               Visit the RFCSQ—CSR website

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