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Rural Financial Counselling Service Southern Queensland (RFCS-SQ) provides free, impartial, confidential and responsive rural financial counselling services across Southern Queensland.
The RFCS Programme in Queensland is funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments.
NEWS
INSTANT ASSET WRITE-OFF EXTENDED

The recently announced $150,000 instant asset write-off tax incentive has been extended to the end of 2020.

Key points:
  • The new rules for the Instant Asset Write-Off scheme will be extended to the end of the year (December 2020)
  • Eligible businesses (those with an annual turnover of less than $500M) are able to instantly deduct the cost of assets worth up to $150,000
  • The scheme is designed to help businesses recover from the Coronavirus crisis
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that arrangement, which was due to end on July 1, would remain in place until the end of the year.
"We do know that there are businesses that are ready to invest right now," he said.
"When the restrictions are eased and people are back at work, our cafes and restaurants will be busy.
"Our hotels will have occupants again and our businesses will be able to export and import again, and they need the equipment and they need the machinery."

For more information about the scheme, talk to your accountant or click here.
RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GRANTS

Applications to apply for Round 3 are open.

The Rural Economic Development (RED) Grants Scheme has been funded to an amount of $10 million over three funding rounds.
These grants will fund projects which provide unique opportunities to generate economic and employment opportunities related to primary production across rural and remote Queensland.
Grants are up to a maximum of $250,000 with a 50 per cent cash contribution requirement from applicants.
Example projects eligible under the scheme could include the development of new products or markets, or improved business processes where such investment creates employment – for further detail on eligible applicants and eligible projects under the scheme view the guidelines and frequently asked questions.


For more information click here.
SMALL BUSINESS COVID19 ADAPTION GRANT PROGRAM
Round 2 opening 1 July 2020
The Queensland Government is extending the Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program.
As part of Stage 2 of Queensland's Economic Recovery Strategy – Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs, up to $100 million is being made available to deliver a second round of grants, with half of this funding specifically earmarked for regional small businesses located outside of South East Queensland.
Round 2 will open on 1 July 2020.

For more information phone 1300 654 687 or email adapt@desbt.qld.gov.au.
PRICE DROP IN AGRICULTURAL DEGREES

The Coronavirus pandemic has seen a focus on business impacts and the support available.
This month, Education Minister Dan Tehan announced an overhaul of University fees that includes a 62% decrease in the cost of studying agriculture.
Many RFCSSQ rural clients will be the beneficiary of this announcement.
The dramatic decrease in cost comes as the Government aims to increase interest in 'job-relevant' courses to help lead COVID-19 recovery and fix the unemployment rate.

Read an article about the changes here.
FAIR FARMS INITIATIVE

Coles has recently announced it will embrace Growcom's Fair Farms program as part of its ethical sourcing program.

The Rural Financial Counselling Service is proud to support Queensland horticulturalists.

Fair Farms is an industry-led initiative aimed at fostering fair and responsible
employment practices in Australian horticulture.
Our Program provides support and training of farm employers and a pathway to independent third-party audit and certification of fair employment practices. Fair Farms enables horticulture businesses to demonstrate their commitment to good employment to their customers, workers and the community.  

Fair Farms is industry taking action on identified problems around workplace compliance. In the spirit of effective self-governance, Fair Farms aims to level the playing field by ensuring that growers and other suppliers, who comply with the rules and treat their workers fairly, are rewarded with superior access to the fresh produce supply chain. And to remove from the supply chain businesses that exploit workers deliberately to gain an unfair advantage.

We work in alliance with buyers of horticulture produce (retailers and wholesalers), government agencies, workers representative bodies, academia, professional experts and other stakeholders towards achieving this goal.   

Fair Farms is developed and implemented by Growcom, peak industry body for horticulture in Queensland, with support from the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Federal Department of Agriculture and AUSVEG. 

Visit the Fair Farms website here.
AROUND THE TRAPS
ROMA TEAM WORKSHOPS

The Rural team descended on Roma this month for a training and development workshop.
Split into two groups and spread over three days, the 'mini-conference' covered a variety of topics including:
  • CEO update and group discussion
  • Focus on Change Management and behaviour change methods
  • Farm financial assessment
  • Outreach and planned events
With the team geographically spread from Rochampton to Goondwindi and Gympie to Charleville and all areas in between, the opportunity to develop team strategies and effective communication is essential.
"There’s a lot of coordination and organising involved to bring the team together. The sharing of skills and information as a group is invaluable," said CEO, Jenny Whip.
 
PHOTO: Roma's Rotary member, Bryan Payne spoke to RFCSSQ on camera about the Cash Card program.

SPOTLIGHT ON ROTARY


Rotary is a fantastic support for rural Queenslanders.
The very popular Cash card program is a partnership between Rotary and the RFCSSQ.
Rotary collate donations and produce cash cards which are distributed by the RFCSSQ.


This month we released a video explaining the program.

Click on the image below to watch the video.
ROTARY VIDEO
WEBINARS
Travel restrictions are beginning to lift signalling an  imminent return to normal operations for the Rural Financial Counselling Service SQ.
Until that time, we continue to communicate with clients and stakeholders via the telephone and electronic means.
Our events are currently limited to webinars and so we continue to deliver relevant presentations using Zoom.
RURAL TAX WEBINAR

The Rural Tax webinar was a joint hosting effort by Charleville based Rural Financial Counsellor, Angie Bowden and Roma based Rural Financial Counsellor, Dale Murphy.
Our special guest was Warwick accountant and director of Condamine Accountants, Laura Babington.


Click on the image below to watch a recording of the webinar.
RURAL TAX WEBINAR RECORDING
COMMERCIAL TENANCIES WEBINAR

Our Gold Coast based, Small Business Financial Counsellor, Felicity Sansom-Gower hosted our Commercial Tenancies webinar.
Focused on the Code of Conduct released by the Federal Government, Felicity explained the implications for landlords and tenants and the underlying principle of mutual compromise by both tenants and landlords to ensure the impacts of the pandemic are shared.
Click on the image below to watch a recording of the webinar.
COMMERCIAL TENANCIES WEBINAR RECORDING
EVENTS
QRRRWN PRESENTATION

Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women's Network Inc have invited RFCSSQ's Outreach Communication Officer, Sharon Purcell to explain the role of the RFCS at a Ag Interest Group this week. (Thursday July 2 at 7pm)

QRRRWN members can register for the event
here.


SUCCESS - SUCCESSION - SELLING

BIOELA - AUGUST 2020
What options do you have for your future?

More information to be provided in July newsletter and at www.rfcssq.org.au


BANK READY WORKSHOPS

ROMA AND CHARLEVILLE - AUGUST 2020
Hear from bankers about what you can do to help yourself!

Topics covered

Changing banks
New loan negotiations
Refinancing discussions
Improving your chances with effective preparation

More information to be provided in July newsletter and at 
www.rfcssq.org.au


WHERE WERE WE BEFORE COVID19?
GYMPIE AND BUNDABERG - AUGUST 2020
Getting the focus back on rural issues after COVID19

Topics covered

Drought Support
Innovation Programs
Staff incentives

More information to be provided in July newsletter and at 
www.rfcssq.org.au
STAFF
JEN TURNER
Rural Financial Counsellor, Toowoomba

Based in the RFCSSQ Toowoomba office and servicing the Darling Downs/Toowoomba Regional Council area, Jen Turner enjoys dealing with primary producers.
"I love working in a role where I can offer financial support and guidance to farmers feeling the effects of hard times," she said.
"There is immense satisfaction to be gained from working with a farming family and supporting them through tough times and seeing them gain the financial skills and confidence to move forward independently."

Jen grew up outside Kingaroy on a cattle property.
A UNE Armidale graduate (Bachelor of Rural Science), Jen has worked for the Charolais Society, NAPCO, Elders and QRIDA in various positions.
"Six years ago my husband and I purchased a small property north of Toowoomba.
We have since built there and live very happily at “Montrose” with our seven year old son.
I keep my passion and interest in beef cattle alive by turning over a few steers on the property.
We love camping and following our footy team, the Brisbane Lions."

Jen's professional focus is on trust.
"It is important for me to gain the clients trust in both myself and the Rural Financial Service.
I want my client’s to feel comfortable to communicate openly and honestly about their financial situation so we can mutually work together towards the most favourable outcome depending on their individual circumstances."

Working collaboratively on cash flow projections, new and refinancing applications, bank negotiations and business planning is the most required service.
"Whilst a lot of our time is working directly with our clients, there is also a significant amount of work to follow up on between appointments back at the office," she said.

You can contact Jen Turner on 0429 978 951 or jen.turner@rfcssq.org.au 
CRAIG HILTON
Small Business Financial Counsellor, Hervey Bay

Craig Hilton is our Hervey Bay based Small Business Financial Counsellor on the Fraser Coast and services Hervey Bay, Bundaberg and Fraser Island.

Growing up in Brisbane, Craig headed to regional Queensland for work and stayed.
“A parochial Queenslander, I have worked in some great locations including Toowoomba, Gympie, Sunshine Coast, Townsville and Mount Isa – where I met my wife!.”
Craig and his wife and their two teenage daughters enjoy the lifestyle of regional Queensland.

“I’m looking forward to offering Small Businesses in my region some impartial, free support,” Craig said.
“I can assist clients get to a position where they can make productive informed business decisions.”

With 25 years of small business experience predominantly in banking and a Diploma of Banking and Finance, Craig has also operated his own small business for a number of years.
“This experience gives me an appreciation and empathy for Small Business owners and the challenges they face on a day to day basis.”

Fraser Coast Small Business owners can contact Craig on 0436 009 837 or craig.hilton@rfcssq.org.au
CEO'S REPORT
Jenny Whip

The end of the financial year is always a good time to review the finances and how the year has panned out financially.  

It has been another challenging year for farmers financially as well as in the paddock.
Sadly, many areas that received some beneficial rain earlier in the year are now suffering the effects of limited follow-up rain and frost exposure to pastures.  
Small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to battle through the multiple challenges of the past few months and plan to navigate their recovery path into the future. 

Rural and Small Business Financial Counsellors continue to enhance their assistance process and mechanisms of support that they provide to our clients.  

The Business assessment framework is a new tool under our Case Management Strategy incorporating an assessment of assistance options which includes an action plan to progress a clients business into the future.  

Some facets of the Business Assessment Framework for clients include:
•    reviewing their financial position and financial options into the future 
•    developing cash flow budgets and projections 
•    analysing the financial and business performance of their farm enterprise 
•    identifying and discussing future retirement or pre-succession steps to incorporate in future planning
•    developing strategies and options that are appropriate to their farm enterprise’s business structure 
•    preparing a plan to manage risk, including climate risk 
•    a debt and loan review or assessment
•    identifying the various government assistance that may be suitable to access and how to apply 

Working through this support process, financial counsellors assist their clients to gain an improved understanding of their circumstances by reviewing their current financial situation and working through their available options.  
Planning for the future is paramount with the continual climatic and financial challenges that farmers and small business in Southern Queensland face.

With the two arms of assistance under the RFCS Southern Queensland banner, Rural and Small Business, I encourage businesses in Southern Queensland to make contact with one of our financial counsellors.  

A high volume of enquiries to the service are in respect to the COVID-19 support for small businesses and also the new amendments to Farm Household Allowance Income Support.  
One of the changes recently announced by the Federal Government, includes a combined off-farm and on-farm asset threshold of $5.5 million (net) which will now make the payment more assessable to farmers struggling through financial hardship.

As at 5th June, 2020, 1722 Queensland farmers have been granted Farm Household Allowance since 2014.


For more information on our assistance mechanisms, please do not hesitate to call one of our rural or small business financial counsellors.  
The RFCSSQ team look forward to your call either on 07 4622 5500 (Rural) or 1300 732 777 (Small Business).

Jenny


 
CHAIR'S REPORT
Karen Tully

The Coronavirus is the business shock no one saw coming.

Some businesses have boomed in recent months. 
If you produce or sell office furniture or exercise equipment; if you provide cleaning or food delivery services or manufacture toilet paper, you have possibly felt the pandemic impact your business in a positive way. 
For others, the pandemic has turned their business operations into a sideways slew, or indeed, has turned them upside down.  
Reduced or negative earnings are the reality for many businesses in Quarter 4 of the current financial year.

Are you in this situation?
As you head into the new financial year, are you scrambling to identify diversification opportunities that might complement your existing business?
Diversification can mean many different things. 
For some business owners, it means creating additional income streams, so the ‘eggs are not all in the one basket’.
For a few operators, the growth strategy may always have been a thought, and the time has finally come to make the thought a reality.   Maybe you have an idea to add value by developing a new niche product line or a service that will meet a need that is currently unmet?
Other business managers may be pondering what they might do that goes ‘one better’ than their competitors. 
This might include an expansion strategy that involves targeting global markets.

Many businesses in rural Queensland produce cyclical products or provide seasonal services that involves ramping up at a certain time and going quiet in the off season or non-productive times and the pandemic has seen them miss their peak trading time. 
Do you have an idea to smooth this bump?

Regardless of your diversification direction, the pandemic may be the trigger for you to create new growth and explore opportunities.
You could have an idea in your head that you believe is a winner and you have done some rough business planning that optimistically enthuses you to go further.

Do find you are faltering at this step, as you are able to see potential risks?
Does diversifying into new areas scare you? 
How do you know your idea will generate the cash flow needed to ensure your diversification efforts and investments worthwhile?

You may also be aware that there are a raft of government assistance subsidies, grants, and loans available for business diversification purposes and you are not sure what you may be eligible for.     

If planning and preparing for this diversification change is becoming too overwhelming, maybe it is time to make an appointment to see a Small Business Financial Counsellor? 
The RFCS SQ has counsellors who can assist you with scenario planning and assessing the viability of your diversification work. 
Our team can also help you to assess your eligibility for government assistance which may be available, as well as provide referrals to additional assistance that is available from other professionals and services, within both government and private sectors.

If diversification is your core goal for the new financial year, why not make an appointment for a confidential chat with a free and impartial Small Business Counsellor?  
 
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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