Rural Financial Counselling

About the RFCS Program

RFCSCR provides high quality free, impartial & confidential assistance to eligible clients through the provision of Financial Counselling Services designed to:

  • assist our clients to understand their financial position and the viability of their enterprise;
  • identify options to improve their financial position;
  • develop a plan to implement the options chosen by them, and implement their plan.

We can also :

  • assist our clients to deal (whether through meetings or otherwise) with lending institutions in relation to: applications and contracts with those institutions; and processes relating to farm debt mediation;
  • provide information on and assisting clients to access programmes provided by government or industry, including client referrals to appropriate professionals;
  • assist our clients to identify the need for advice from, and to prepare for meetings with, professional service providers;
  • provide information to assist our clients to make decisions relating to their enterprise/s.

To successfully meet the above RFCS Programme Objectives all eligible RFCSCR clients will be given the opportunity to work with a professionally trained Rural Financial Counsellor (RFC) via a case management approach which will provide clients with a personalised Action Plan which is focused, effective, and initiates timely interaction, referrals and ongoing support.


Developing an Action Plan for your farm business  

Our Rural Financial Counsellors will work closely with you and your family to assist. We can resolve urgent issues, create a plan for your future, develop strategies and set goals for your farming enterprise. 

During the development of your enterprise's personalised Action Plan your Counsellor will undertake to:  

  • holistically review your current situation;
  • examine various financial and business options;
  • develop cash flow budgets and projections;
  • analyse the financial and business performance of your farm enterprise;
  • benchmark your farm enterprise against standard farm business financial and operating ratios;
  • develop strategies and options that are appropriate to your farm enterprise’s business structure;
  • plan to manage risk, including climate risk;
  • identify where you might need to obtain professional assistance or advice; and
  • advise you on government assistance and support you if you access the Farm Household Allowance (FHA).


What's Your Financial Position ? – cash flows, budgeting and forecasting    

Our Rural Financial Counsellors are trained and highly skilled in all areas of interpreting your financial reports, determining your enterprise's financial position and assisting you to understand current financial trends relevant to your business. Our counsellors are specialists in reviewing and analysing financial information and can work with you to:

  • build cash flows;
  • develop forecasts, budgets and business plan;
  • allocate funds with an aim to improve your enterprise's financial position; and
  • open up financial opportunities based on valid information.


Review financing options and develop good relationships with your bank

Knowledge relating to financial lenders form a part of your core business.  Our Rural Financial Counsellors can assist your enterprise:  

  • compare lending options;
  • determine the optimum direction in regards to financing;
  • provide support and direction to ensure communication with your lender is open and productive;
    • during refinancing; and
    • during debt negotiation (including Farm Debt Mediation)


Succession Planning

The most important aim of the succession planning process is to bring about a smooth transfer of the family farm and at the same time, improve business confidence and maintain family harmony. Succession planning is a critical factor in effective business planning and by completing a succession plan your business's financial risk is lowered.

Our Counsellors can assist clients evaluate business and personal circumstance in light of current and possible future options.  Counsellors can assist you with the initial steps and family discussions around the development of a succession plan and help prepare the required paperwork for finalisation of a Succession Plan with a professional.


Farm Debt Mediation

Experienced Rural Financial Counsellors are available to assist clients prepare for the mediation process and provide support to farmers as they are engaged in Farm Debt Mediation (FDM).  The objective of Mediation under the Farm Debt Mediation Act is to provide for the efficient and equitable resolution of farm debt disputes.  Mediation is required before a creditor can take possession of property or other enforcement action under a farm mortgage.

Farm Debt Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process during which farmers can request the assistance of a Rural Financial Counsellor who can assist clients to:  

  • understand the FDM process;
  • understand all FDM notices served, legal compliance and rights under the Act (including the cooling off period);
  • prepare for FDM (Creditor or Farmer initiated mediation);
  • achieve an equitable resolution to farm debt disputes under the Farm Debt Mediation Act.  (agreement is voluntary); and
  • meet the terms of the settlement reached within the Heads Of Agreement, post mediation through case management.


Accessing Government Assistance

Our service is up to date with the latest Federal and State Government assistance packages.  Our Rural Financial Counsellors are able to interpret the eligibility criteria and assist you and your enterprise with the application process and associated elements such as: business plan development and financial reports such as budgets and cash flows.

Access to other services

Our Rural Financial Counsellors have access to an extensive network of relevant contacts.  They are able to assist you via referrals to: 

  • government Departments such as Dept of Human Services, Department of Agriculture & Water Resources, Department of Primary Industry, Rural Assistance Authority; etc
  • accountants, agricultural advisers and educational services;
  • professionals for succession planning;
  • appropriate health professional;
  • family mediation and personal, emotional and social counselling.