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.

The impacts on the agricultural sector from Coronavirus aren't obvious at first glance, but things like seasonal workers, freight implications and crossing the border are generating questions.
The Queensland Government have a website dedicated to answering those questions.


The Chief Health Officer has issued a class exemption under the Border Restriction Declaration (No.12) for farmers and agribusiness workers needing to move between Queensland and New South Wales to perform essential agribusiness services or farming activities, such as tending to livestock or crops (until 22 September 2020).

People covered by the exemption include people who are:
  1. Queensland residents who need to re-enter Queensland after travelling to New South Wales to perform essential agribusiness services for the agriculture supply chain or farming activities; or
  2. Queensland residents who need to re-enter Queensland after entering New South Wales to access or provide timely veterinary services, or to provide care for livestock; or
  3. New South Wales residents who need to enter Queensland to perform essential agribusiness services for the agriculture supply chain or farming activities; or
  4. New South Wales residents who need to access Queensland to access or provide timely veterinary services, or to provide care for livestock.
If you fall within the farmer and agribusiness worker class exemption you will need to provide the following information on arrival in Queensland:
  1. A copy of the Chief Health Officer class exemption letter
  2. Evidence of your identity, confirming place of residence
  3. Evidence you are an agribusiness essential worker, for example a letter of employment, business contract, evidence of property ownership or lease, evidence of agistment arrangements.
You do not need to complete an electronic Queensland Border Declaration Pass, however upon arrival you may need to complete a written Queensland Border Declaration Pass.

When working under the farmer and agribusiness worker class exemption:
  • Queensland residents must remain isolated, to the extent reasonably practicable, from the general public at the agribusiness or farm until the person returns to Queensland
  • New South Wales residents must remain isolated, to the extent reasonably practicable, from the general public at the agribusiness or farm until the person departs Queensland or for 14 days, whichever period is shorter; and only remain in Queensland for the time necessary to perform the essential agribusiness or farming activities.
All businesses are also required to have a plan in place to prevent the introduction and transmission of COVID-19 amongst its workers and the community. Agribusinesses and essential workers needing to cross the border are also encouraged to have a worker-specific quarantine plan demonstrating how they will minimise interactions with the community during while working in Queensland. All workers needing to leave or enter Queensland to perform essential agribusiness and farm activities are encouraged to carry a copy of the quarantine plan.

For more information - click here


As customers approach the end of the six-month loan deferral, banks will  implement a new phase of support to assist customers to return to repayments.
Those who can restart repaying their loans are urged to do so.
Banks are working with customers still financially impacted by COVID-19 to restructure or vary their loan.
During this time, some of these customers may be eligible for a further 4-month deferral period.
This will assist in staggering deferral exits, helping to avoid the so-called 'cliff'.
Customers still experiencing financial difficulty at the end of their deferral will be required to work with their bank to find the best solution.

Click here for more information


The JobKeeper payment scheme has been extended until 28 March, 2021.
Payment rates will be reduced and the eligibility turnover tests will be applied again.

For more information - click here

The JobSeeker payment scheme has been extended until 31 December, 2020.
There are changes to the eligibility requirements.

For more information
- click here

The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending until June 2021 to provide businesses with funding to meet cash flow needs as they move into the recovery phase of the Coronavirus crisis and invest for the future.

For more informat
ion - click here

The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme has been extended until 30 June, 2021.

For more information
- click here
Pasture Dieback continues to trouble primary producers in Queensland.
Landowners who want to increase their knowledge and ability to combat pasture dieback are invited to apply to join the DAF Pasture Dieback Industry network.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) is conducting a new project co-funded by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) to work closely with industry and graziers affected by pasture dieback. This new project (titled: Grazier engagement to increase knowledge, skills and ability to combat pasture dieback) will be conducted in Central Queensland. The project will form the DAF Pasture Dieback Industry Network in which participants will have the opportunity to work with the DAF pasture dieback team to learn more about the condition, and help shape the direction of future research.

A group of interested graziers and industry representatives will be formed and participants will be provided with the latest research findings, given the opportunity for dieback to be diagnosed on property and understand management strategies. Group members will be encouraged to learn from each other, as well as have the opportunity to host on-farm trials, and contribute soil and plant samples from their properties for diagnostic research. Several forums, field days and a bus tour are planned for the group.

The project will run from August 2020 to May 2021 and aims to:
  • Increase participants knowledge, including current research, about pasture dieback
  • Support participants to accurately identify and diagnose pasture dieback on their property
  • Increase participants understanding of potential causal agents
  • Increase participants understanding of practices that could be used to combat pasture dieback
  • Streamline information collection of pastures affected by dieback across the state
  • What’s in it for you?
  • Have dieback on your property formally characterised and identified
  • Have your questions answered about dieback, voice your ideas and suggestions
  • Learn about other graziers’ experiences including options to restore productivity
  • Receive research updates from DAF scientists
  • Opportunity to have field trials conducted on your property
  • Opportunity to participate in a one-day forum
  • Opportunity to be involved in a bus-tour to another region to view research sites
  • Opportunity to attend multiple group events e.g. field days and workshops
  • Opportunity to participate in economic analyses of dieback impact
Members of the Pasture Dieback Industry Network must:
  • Be willing to learn about dieback in a group setting and be a constructive participant
  • Be willing to participate in workshop forums
  • Be willing to participate in field days or paddock walks
  • Be willing to participate with on-farm characterisation of dieback – allow DAF staff to visit your property and undertake surveys
  • Be willing to host a trial site, or provide ideas on what trials should be undertaken in your local region
  • Be willing to share information regarding dieback, collected on their property, with the dieback program
If you are a grazier or member of the beef industry in Central Queensland who would like to apply to be involved in the DAF Pasture Dieback Industry Network and have the opportunity to participate in the first forum on 8 September, please fill out the application form before 21 August. Applications received after this date will be included in the broader member group. Numbers at the forum may be limited depending on the location and the venue’s COVID Safe Plan.

To find out more
For more information please contact:
Stuart Buck, Senior Agronomist, (07) 4843 2605 or
Nicholas Brazier, Pasture Agronomist, (07) 4843 2631 or
Kylie Hopkins, Beef Extension Officer, (07) 4843 2615 or

How to apply
To apply to be a part of the DAF Pasture Dieback Industry Network, click here.
Wednesday, September 9 2020
Success Planning Workshop

Hear from legal and financial advisors and spend two hours with a Succession Planning Specialist, for free!
Register NOW at
Saturday, September 26 2020
Twilight BBQ and fireworks

You're invited to enjoy a free BBQ and night out with the RFCSSQ
with thanks to Rotary and the Maranoa Regional Council
Register NOW at
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
Friday, October 30 2020
Small Business Conference

An amazing line up of successful business operators,
motivational speakers and helpful organisations.
Register NOW at
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
We're been focused on the admin support team this month with our video posts.
Naomi Monk, Roma based Client Support Officer
Elizah Swan, Roma based Administration Officer
Small Business Financial Counsellor, Gold Coast

Jodie Terzis is one of our Gold Coast based Small Business Financial Counsellors who assists small businesses that have been affected by COVID19.
"My day is varied and I spend time talking to clients about their current situation, assisting them with practical ways to improve their business, doing research and reading to keep up to date on what the Government is bringing out to help these businesses.
My main focus at the moment is on helping tenants and landlords who are trying to negotiate commercial leases, which can be a stressful, tricky and lengthy process."
Before joining RFCSSQ, Jodie was running her own business, working with clients who wanted to start their own business and needed business plans, or mentoring to take their business to the next level.
"I worked with all types of business, however I specialised in hospitality businesses."

Jodie has also written and published a book called "Foodie Dream – Launch your passion into a thriving business", which is helping many clients to understand what is involved in setting up and running your own business.

"The thing I like most about my job with the Small Business Financial Counselling program is meeting business owners, hearing their stories, and easing their stress during these difficult times. 
I also love the variety of who I am meeting and the industries they come from, so I am learning so much personally with each client I meet."

Jodie lives on the Gold Coast, with her husband and cat Splat, and loves the coastal lifestyle.
"The beach every weekend, enjoying the great food and drink, and working from home - I have a view of the beach from my office window!!!"
Jodie has four children , "who are spread far and wide at the moment, one in Townsville, one in Canada and two still here on the Gold Coast.:
"I love making delicious chocolate creations, reading and I’m learning Greek at the moment.
We have a couple of racehorses and love heading to the track, also travelling to different tracks around the country."

Contact Jodie on 0436 099 098

Administration Officer, Roma

What do you spend most of your work hours doing?
A little bit of everything

What did you do before RFCSSQ?
Project Admin at an ecological consulting firm

What do you like most about your job?
Every day is a little bit different from the last.
Liaising between clients and financial counsellors to help them get the assistance they need.

Tell us a bit about your personal life.
Not much to tell really.
I’m married and we have fish for pets because they’re easy to manage.

Jenny Whip

With the ongoing drought declarations remaining in Southern Queensland areas and the lack of rainfall impacting many primary producers and flow-on to small businesses,
a new financial support mechanism
is available through Rural Solutions Queensland Inc (RSQ). (Trading as Rural Financial Counselling Service Southern Queensland)
The Minister for Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, the Honorable Coralee O’Rourke, Member for Mundingburra, has provide
Flexible Financial Hardship Funding
to our organisation for a number of Local Government Areas in Southern Queensland.
This funding is greatly appreciated and will support and relieve the cost of living pressures alleviating hardship for individuals, households and communities impacted by drought. 
We sincerely appreciates the provision of this financial support in the drought-affected areas of Southern Queensland. 
The funds can assist:
  • farming families, farming contractors/employees
  • non-farming small business operators and their families
  • tradesmen and retail operators that rely on regional economies and the agriculture that underpins these economies to earn an income
  • Parent and Citizens Associations for purchase of school uniforms, stationery and text books or the replacement of tuck shop equipment such as toasters, blenders and other minor equipment
  • Schools providing a school breakfast program where minor equipment is required
The funding allocation for RFCS Southern Queensland has been provided in the following Local Government Areas.
South Burnett
Southern Downs

In partnership with Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, RSQ is focused on building thriving communities and assisting those in financial hardship impacted by the ongoing drought.

If you would like to know more about the flexible financial hardship assistance, or would like to access our free, confidential rural and small business financial counselling services across Southern Queensland please contact Head Office on 07 4622 5500 or for your closest counsellor.

The team at RFCS Southern Queensland very much look forward to assisting you now and into the future.


Karen Tully

“Treat debt like it is a brown snake
and be very wary of it”.

Phil Holmes' Agricultural Consultant
“Focus on the Profit Drivers of the Business” (2015)


Is it fair to have an attitude to debt that is like the attitude one would have to a brown snake?

The 2019 Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) 2019 Rural Debt Survey findings have recently been released. 
Rural debt is defined as the total indebtedness of all farmers or rural enterprises throughout Queensland, where the servicing of the rural debt relies primarily on rurally generated income.

In the majority of cases debt funding is a valuable tool for businesses, as it can fund capital investments and working capital. 
In fact, the rural debt survey found that 78% of rural debt in Queensland in 2019 was viable under most or all circumstances and an additional 15% of debt is potentially viable in the long term, however may experience some stress with servicing debt in the short term. 

In total, 93% of the debt is serving businesses in a positive and proactive manner. 
In these businesses, the ‘brown snake’ of debt is the primary producer’s friend – happily eating mice, rabbits, grubs and slugs and controlling the impact of ‘vermin’ on food and fibre production. 

It is the remaining 7% of debt which is the ‘brown snake’ that one should be wary of, as the survey found that these businesses currently have a debt situation which is deteriorating and in danger of becoming non-viable. 
Often, the borrower may be experiencing difficulties in servicing this debt.  Only 2.09% of rural debt was considered to be unviable in 2019.

The key to managing rural debt is to always maintain open, honest and regular communication with your financier as well as being able to make regular repayments to both the interest and the principal loan. 
The survey has shown that the greater majority of 18 232 borrowers included in the survey are capably managing their business debt within the variations of cash flow as a result of weather, commodity prices and natural disasters. 
The average debt was $1.05 million per borrower. 

Each farm enterprise has a plan to repay their debt, however there will always be curve balls which put a dent in this plan. 
If you find yourself in this situation, it is vital that you identify these stress points early. 
Keep an eye on the far horizon for that ‘brown snake’ so you can see it well in advance and take evasive action. 

If you sense that the brown snake of debt could divert you from your business plan, it may be prudent to seek the support of a Rural Financial Counsellor. 
A Counsellor can help you assess and prepare reports on your current financial position, cash flow and viability and assist you to identify appropriate options for an action plan. 
We can also help you to prepare for meetings with your financier to commence open and honest discussions on your trading circumstances.

Should you be a small business owner and see a brown snake slithering towards the door of your business, the Rural Financial Counselling Service Southern Queensland also has a team of Small Business Counsellors who can assist you in a confidential, free and impartial manner. 

If the brown snake of business debt is threatening to strike at your business, why not call us?

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.
Copyright © 2019 Rural Financial Counselling Service Southern Queensland, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
42b Wyndham Street, Roma QLD 4455
Phone: 07 46 22 5500 Email:

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

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