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Merry Christmas & Merry Christmas & A prosperous New Year A ...
Rural Financial Counselling Service Qld—CSR DECEMBER 2009 NEWS IN THIS ISSUE Merr y Christmas & erous New Year CHAIR’S REPORT 1 RFCSQ-CSR ANNUAL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS 2 A prosp SUPPORTING & 3 SUSTAINING CHANGE From the Rural Financial Counselling REGION IN FOCUS— 5 Service Queensland— ST. GEORGE & GOONDIWINDI Central Southern Region LINKED IN2 SUPPORT 7 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 email@example.com provided. 1 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 2 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 possibilities... 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 DR LISA WRIGHT rewards for each small step you take is a useful strategy to keep the CENTRAL WEST PHSYCHOLOGY 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 cw.bigpond.com.au supports around you, if you are having trouble setting goals and you are finding old ways hard to ditch, then get some outside support. 3 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 enterprises. 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 4 REGION IN FOCUS... 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 said. 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% Introducing 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 5 REGION IN FOCUS... 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 rewarding... Introducing 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. 6 L NKED IN2 SUPPORT Listed below are some links to services and support for individuals and businesses.* For more information contact your local Rural Financial Counsellor (details on page 4). Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries (DAFF) (QPIF) Visit the Department’s website at For information about drought and disaster www.daff.gov.au for information on: assistance, including freight subsidies, visit the QPIF website www.dpi.qld.gov.au 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 www.qraa.qld.gov.au 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 www.getfarming.com.au on the listed weblinks. 7 YOUR RURAL FINANCIAL COUNSELLORS 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 firstname.lastname@example.org circumstances and to identify your financial and business Phone: 07 4665 7185 options. Your rural financial counsellor can help you indentify way EMERALD to become self-reliant in your business, and to better Emma Cook manage change and adjustment. email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 LONGREACH information in the strictest confidence and use it only John Swain with your approval to help you in discussions with others, email@example.com such as your financial institution. Your personal and Phone: 07 4652 5602 financial information is stored in a secure database to protect your privacy. MILES Glenn Budden Here are some of the issues a rural financial firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 07 4627 2027 counsellor can help you with: 1 Analysing your cash flow and viability MUNDUBERRA 2 Preparing budgets, and profit and loss statements Tony Kassulke email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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.” 8 Visit the RFCSQ—CSR website www.rfcsqcsr.com.au
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