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Money still available!

Grape growers facing difficulties servicing debt, but who are commercially viable in the longer term, may be able to restructure debt through concessional loans from the Commonwealth Government at 4.5% for five years with interest-only payments.  At the end of the five year period the loan funds need to be repaid; for example, through successfully obtaining commercial refinance.  Alternatively, similar concessional loans may be available for productivity enhancement (where the productivity gains will presumably assist with the loan repayments).

While the funds are provided by the commonwealth, the loans are administered by each state independently and the types and conditions of the loans vary slightly between states, depending on what each considers best meets the needs of its farming sector.

Applications for the first round have already closed in NSW but are open in the other states and the Northern Territory at least until 31 March 2014.  However, there is a limited pool of money available and it’s “first in first served” if you meet the eligibility criteria.  So far in Victoria $22.45 million has been allocated out of their $40 million share of the total pool for 2013-14.

Each loan applicant will be required to meet eligibility criteria, lending obligations and provide evidence that they could meet loan repayments.

There is an excellent summary of the scheme and links to more specific information for each state including closing dates, amounts available and application forms at: http://www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought/assistance/farm-finance/concessional-loans