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Rural Financial Counselling Service Southern Queensland (RFCS-SQ) provides free, impartial, confidential and responsive rural and small business financial counselling services across Southern Queensland.
The RFCS Programme in Queensland is funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments.
NEWS
SMART FARMS SMALL GRANTS
The Australian Government is inviting applications for projects to deliver services under the National Landcare Program – Smart Farms Small Grants Round 4.

Smart Farms Small Grants is an open, competitive, grant opportunity to support projects to increase farming, forestry and fishing communities’ awareness, knowledge, skills and capacity to adopt best practice sustainable agriculture.

The purpose of Smart Farms Small Grants is to support land manager practice change that will deliver more sustainable, productive and profitable food, fibre and forestry business while protecting Australia’s biodiversity; protecting and improving the condition of natural resources; and assisting Australia meet its international obligations.

The purpose will be achieved by supporting projects that contribute to achieving one or both of the program outcomes outlined below:
  • Outcome 1 – Increased adoption of best practice sustainable agriculture
  • Outcome 2 – Increase the capacity of land managers to adopt best practice sustainable agriculture
A total of $43.5 million (GST exclusive) is available for Smart Farms Small Grants over six years (2017–18 to 2022–23).

The first round opened for applications in October 2017 from which, the then Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources approved 77 projects totalling $4.75 million (GST exclusive).
The second round opened for applications in November 2018 from which the then Minister for Agriculture approved 110 projects totalling $9.246 million (GST exclusive).
The third round opened for applications in October 2019 from which the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management approved 113 projects totalling $5.03 million (GST exclusive).
This grant opportunity is the fourth round.


For more information click here.
SMALL BUSINESS

Message from the Office of the Small Business Commissioner
We are very close to an important milestone for small business tenants and landlords, with 30 September marking the end of the initial COVID-19 commercial lease ‘response period’ for rent reductions to apply and the protection of tenants from eviction. Like many of the other states, the Queensland Government has recently announced an extension of the modification arrangements for commercial leases until the 31 December 2020.
As soon as we have confirmed details from the Queensland Government regarding the arrangements for the extension period, we will update our website content. Keep an eye out on our social media, we will share the key highlights of what it will mean for tenants and for landlords going forward into the next quarter.

For many small business tenants, this announcement will be welcome news – my office has certainly fielded a number of enquiries from concerned tenants about their ability to maintain their leases going forward and how the announcement might affect rent payments during the months of October to December.  
We are also very mindful of the many small business landlords who will need as much warning as possible to manage this additional three month period. So it is a timely reminder for everyone that our office is here to help both parties (tenants AND landlords) work together to reach an outcome that both parties can live with. Our dispute assistance support and mediation service is free, and we are a neutral party.

If you have yet to work out an arrangement for rent or outgoings for any month/s between April – December 2020, there is still time. We have a bank of helpful template emails that you can use, to get the conversation started. Information can also be found on our website or by phoning our assistance team on 1300 312 344.
GO LOCAL FIRST Campaign

You can play a vital role in backing small business by buying local.
The Council of small Business of Australia (COSBOA) is delivering a campaign to support local small and family businesses and encourage consumer spending locally, with small enterprises first.  

Small businesses are the soul of our local communities and the backbone of our economy.
Small and family businesses contribute over a third of Australia’s GDP and employ nearly half of Australia’s workforce.
Supporting these enterprises through the current crisis and beyond is vital to help stem the economic downturn.

Many small businesses are doing it tough.
With COVID-19 restrictions gradually lifting across the country, small and family businesses need support from their communities to continue trading and as they re-open. 

To sign up for further information about the campaign, find out how you can help, or to get involved please click here.
EVENTS
Maranoa Regional Council Mayor, Tyson Golder (centre) with RFCSSQ event coordinator, Sharon Purcell (right) and local volunteers, John Shelswell and Jacqui Beale.
(Photo credit Queensland Country Life)


MUNGALLALA TWLIGHT BBQ AND FIREWORKS

The Mungallala Twilight BBQ and Fireworks was an outstanding success with 217 locals attending the event on the weekend.

Held in partnership with Maranoa Regional Council and Rotary, RFCSSQ was represented by a formidable team of workers on the night including CEO, Jenny Whip and her husband, Rowan, event coordinator, Sharon Purcell and her partner, Cam Colley, Rural Financial Counsellor, Dale Murphy and his wife, Olivia, Admin Support officer, Naomi Monk and Small Business Financial Counsellor, Jahra Taylor and her husband, Luke.

The event consisted of entertainment by The Voice contestant and Roma local, Maddy Thomas, a free BBQ prepared by the Mitchell and Roma Rotary team, a jumping castle and ten minutes of impressive fireworks by Mr Fireworks International.

"Drought has a long term financial impact on all primary producers and the small businesses in surrounding towns and it’s our job to support those people and businesses as they face those financial challenges, identify responses and work through the recovery phase,” said RFCSSQ CEO, Jenny Whip.
“We run events throughout Southern Queensland through allocated  funding to promote government services and programs like ours that make a real difference to people’s financial capacity.”

To read an article in Queensland Country Life about the event and see more photos click here.

 
MONTO
Wednesday, October 7 2020
Choosing Farm Business Options

Join RFCSSQ and a raft of agricultural specialists
to investigate options for your business.
Spend ten minutes with your choice of specialists for free!
Register NOW at
www.rfcssq.org.au

SPRINGSURE
Friday, October 9 2020
Knowledge Transfer Day

Join RFCSSQ and a raft of agricultural specialists
to investigate options for your business.
Spend ten minutes with your choice of specialists for free!
Register NOW at
www.rfcssq.org.au

GYMPIE AND BUNDABERG
October 20th and 22nd, 2020
Equipped for Finance

How can you ensure you maximise your relationship with your bank manager?
Why should you focus on banking relationships?
Can you improve your chances for finance?
Register NOW at
www.rfcssq.org.au
TOOWOOMBA
Friday, October 30 2020
Small Business Conference

An amazing line up of successful business operators,
motivational speakers and helpful organisations.
Register NOW at
www.rfcssq.org.au
STAFF
JAHRA TAYLOR
Small Business Financial Counsellor, Roma

Covering the Maranoa, Balonne and Southern Central Highlands Shires, Jahra Taylor is part of the small business team whose role is to assist Small Businesses that are facing financial hardship due to drought or COVID19.

The team works with the business owner to examine the business model and ways the business can adapt to current circumstances.
"I can assist businesses to get back on their feet," Jahra said.

Starting in the role in August, Jahra is passionate about helping people achieve their financial goals.
"I believe that the small business concept generally comes from people with a fantastic skills in their chosen field, however that skill doesn’t always flow across into financial literacy."
"My role is to assist business owners to understand their finances."
"I have a financial and banking background and a wealth of knowledge that I am passionate about sharing with my clients."

A keen tennis player and beach lover, Jahra is married with an 18 month old son.
"I am a wife 
to a very handy mechanic and successful small business owner who grew up in the picturesque Arcadia Valley."
A passionate gardener and animal lover, Jahra is a keen equestrian rider.

Contact Jahra on 0447 568 971
ELLEN LORENZ
Administration Team, Roma

Ellen Lorenz is responsible for payroll and a valuable support for clients and staff.
In the role for just over 12 months, Ellen enjoys working for RFCSSQ.
"I get to work with a great bunch of colleagues and for an organisation that helps people everyday."
Growing up on a family cattle property south west of St George, Ellen has called Roma home for the last 12 years.
"I spend most of my time juggling work, three children and our own business with my husband."
"I enjoy starting my day at the gym, lunch and outings to the races with friends and family holidays at Mooloolaba."

 
CEO'S REPORT
Jenny Whip


"It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark"

As the end of the year looms, I can’t help but look back on a tumultuous year for clients of the Rural Financial Counselling Service SQ and our organisation as a whole.

The Australian and Queensland Governments have continued to support Queenslanders facing financial hardship with free financial counselling for primary producers and small business owners.
Our organisation has grown rapidly in response to the dramatic events of 2020 and our client base  has swelled.

Although the terrible drought of 2019 has eased in some areas, primary producers continue to face dry conditions in many, many parts of Southern Queensland.
Small Business owners have been dealt a terrible blow with COVID19 and continue to deal with the longer term implications.

The increase in our service has been welcomed (particularly by small business owners) and continues to support the recovery phase in both rural and owner/operator industries.
I’m proud of the work our Financial Counsellors do with their clients to identify stress points in business plans, examine options and work towards achieving a better business model.

As we build towards Christmas, my wish is for wide-spread, heavy rainfall for rural Queenslanders, an increase in travel plans for everyone for tourism, food and accommodation operators and a buoyant Christmas shopping spree for retailers.
Our financial counsellors are here to support farmers and small businesses through these challenging times and can provide you with the latest information on government assistance programs that may be of benefit to you.  

It is vital that business owners (rural and small) do not self-assess and contact the service to find out the assistance that is available. 

Call us on 07 46 22 5500

Jenny


 
CHAIR'S REPORT
Karen Tully

"Hurrah for the storm clouds sweeping!
Hurrah for the driving rain!
The dull earth out of her sleeping
is wakened to life again."

Extract from the poem
“The Filling of the Swamps”
Will Ogilvie (1869 – 1963)

 

Many weather forecasting organisations are predicting a wet summer, in the form of a La Nina event which is likely to be in place in October. Current modelling is suggesting that it will influence the weather until the first quarter of 2021.

For many on the land, summer rain is welcomed as a great opportunity to replenish soil moisture levels, top-up dams and waterways and to see mother nature fully recharged by rainfall events. 
However, summer rain as a result of La Nina events can be associated with intense rainfall events, wild storms, severe tropical cyclones and flooding. 

 What does the possibility of a strong wet season mean for your business?
For those who have endured minimal rainfall in the winter months, the rain is a welcome respite for both the business and the landscape. 
 
However, for some primary producers and small business owners, a wet summer presents challenges to normal business operations. 
For those with plans to plant or harvest crops over summer, excess rain can prevent these activities from going ahead, or can impact on the quality of the food or fibre produced. 
Tourism, hospitality and retail businesses who have already been impacted adversely by the CV-19 pandemic will not be warmly greeting the thought of a prolonged, intensively wet summer which may prevent travellers from venturing out.
 
Now is the time to commence examining your business plans and forecasted budgets to see what impacts a wetter than average summer will have on your operations.  Do you understand the potential risks that a natural disaster would have on your business?  What do you proactively need to put in place to prepare for a wet summer?  What preventative steps should you consider to mitigate against the negative consequences of excess rain, storms, floods or cyclones?  Do you have a business continuity plan? Does your current business plan need revising in light of the predicted season? 
 
Now is the time to reflect on the types of risks you might face.  What, when and how could a flood or natural disaster potentially impact your business?  How would the severity of the event affect you financially? 
 
Whilst we collectively wish for a kind wet season, you are urged to reflect, plan and take action now to set up your business to deal with the unexpected – the ‘one in 100 year’ rain event, flood, storm or cyclone. 

 Should your business be negatively impacted by a wet summer in the coming months, you might find yourself in a situation where you need to seek assistance from a Rural Financial Counsellor or a Small Business Financial Counsellor. 
If the predicted La Nina event causes hardship to your business, we have professional and independent financial counsellors who can help you in a confidential manner. 
 
In the meantime, spend some time planning for a ‘wet summer’ before sitting back to welcome the gathering storm clouds and driving rain which will reinvigorate and refresh our natural environment.


Karen

 
Disclaimer of Liability 
Every effort is made to provide accurate and complete information in RFCSSQ’s newsletters, however, RFCSSQ cannot guarantee that there will be no errors.
RFCSSQ makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of the newsletters and expressly disclaims liability for errors and omissions in the contents of this newsletters.
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42b Wyndham Street, Roma QLD 4455
Phone: 07 46 22 5500 Email: admin@rfcssq.org.au

Rural Financial Counselling Service Southern Queensland is supported by the Federal and State Governments

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