Community news - 16 December
Written on the 16 December 2020 by SAFCA
Rural Business Support In Focus news Summer 2020
Read an excerpt from the RBS quarterly newsletter
In these uncertain times, we want to reassure rural communities across South Australia and the Northern Territory that RBS is doing everything we can to reach those most in need of our free, independent and confidential support services.
As primary producers and small business owners in rural and regional areas continue to be impacted by the triple whammy of drought, bushfire and COVID-19, RBS has stepped up to ensure we have boots on the ground to provide much needed support.
With welcomed additional funding from the Australian and South Australian Governments, we have again broadened our financial counselling services across South Australia and the Northern Territory to ensure that those who need RBS support, can access it as quickly and as close to home as possible.
Pleasingly, we have expanded our Northern Territory team as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is felt across the Top End and particularly hard within the horticulture and tourism sectors. Rural financial counsellor Kate Green has replaced former RBS member Peter Cottle, while full-time small business financial counsellor, Annette Danaci, has also joined the RBS NT team. Kate and Annette are based out of the RBS office in Darwin.
In the south of SA we now have a full-time Small Business Financial Counsellor Darrel Soderlund working from our new Mount Gambier office, while a new RBS office at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island means we can deliver localised support for farmers and small business owners continuing to rebuild and recover from last summer's bushfires.
The new RBS Landowner Information Service (LIS), an initiative of the SA Government and supported by organisations in the primary production and resources sectors, is gaining traction in communities impacted by resources exploration, mining and quarrying. Our LIS Officer Brett Klau is working with landowners across the state, helping them to access information about their rights and obligations.
Currently our financial counsellors are working with almost 750 farming families and small business owners across SA and NT, supporting them to manage through this climate of reduced spending and to prepare for the future.
At the time of writing, our team is intently focused on preparing a tender bid for the continued delivery of the RFCS in SA and NT from 2021-2024. We sincerely appreciate the support of those of you who have assisted us with this by answering survey questions and providing supporting materials.
Please read on to find out more about what our dedicated team has been up to.
RBS has increased our commitment to supporting farmers and small business owners across regional South Australia, opening new offices in Kingscote to help Kangaroo Island recovery from last summer's fires, as well as in Mount Gambier, to support South East farmers and small businesses manage the financial impact of the pandemic.
Through the delivery of the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) and new Small Business Financial Counselling (SBFC) programs, the RBS team can work with eligible impacted farmers and small business owners to develop and implement plans to recover. With COVID-19 now adding another layer of complexity for business, RBS is encouraging people to call 1800 836 211 to discuss their unique situation and explore options through our free and confidential support services.
RBS Small Business Financial Counsellor Darren Keenan and Rural Financial Counsellor Trevor Linke are based at the Kingscote office, while Adelaide based RBS Business Analyst and Rural Financial Counsellor Russell Trainor also works with clients on the Island regularly.
RBS Small Business Financial Counsellor Darrel Soderlund has joined the RBS team, based at the organisation's new Mount Gambier office. Naracoorte based Rural Financial Counsellor Lachie Hood also works with eligible primary producers in the region.
RBS CEO Brett Smith said that RBS financial counsellors could work with rural business owners to help them prioritise important decisions and develop plans to help them gain some clarity amid the uncertainty.
"Whether you're a primary producer or run a tourism operation, our services are here to help. Initially, this might involve looking into government grants or other payment options to help ease some of the financial pressure. Our team can help you consider different options you may have to improve your business, then work with you to develop a plan to keep the business on track and you feeling in control."
To confirm eligibility for our free, independent and confidential services and be connected with a financial counsellor, please call 1800 836 211 or visit www.ruralbusinesssupport.org.au
RBS expanded our Northern Territory team as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is felt across the Top End particularly within the horticulture and tourism sectors.
Rural financial counsellor Kate Green has replaced former RBS member Peter Cottle, while full-time small business financial counsellor, Annette Danaci, has recently commenced with the organisation. They work from RBS's new Darwin base, but travel to meet with their rural and remote regional clients as required.
RBS CEO Brett Smith said the focus for the newest RBS NT recruits was on helping NT farmers and small business owners to manage the current economic challenges and plan for their future on the other side.
"The growth of our services in the Territory has coincided with a sequence of challenges that few could have predicted, but we're committed to working with our NT clients to help them come out the other side," Brett said. "We're closely monitoring the limitations on international backpackers coming into the Territory, which is causing some of our clients concern around the availability of workers to harvest melon and mango crops, in addition to impacting tourism trade.
"The continuation of extremely dry conditions around Alice Springs is resulting in greater demand for drought concessional loan applications through the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC). Our team can help with this process.
"We're also seeing more demand for our services as the two consecutive dry wet seasons has caused some problems with a number of producers across industry."
To be connected with the RBS NT team please call 1800 836 211 or email NT@ruralbusinesssupport.org.au
If drought, bushfire or COVID-19 is causing concerns with your cash flow, don't wait until it's too late to do something about it.
If your small business is at financial risk, call RBS to set up a confidential chat with one of the locally based members of our Small Business team.
We now have 11 specialist small business counsellors across SA and NT who are ready to help eligible clients to map a way forward, together.
Call 1800 836 211 for an appointment or click here to learn more about this free, independent and confidential program.