MEDIA RELEASE: The government should give farmers financial assistance to access financial planning services to help facilitate a proper recovery from the significant disruption caused by droughts, says the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA).
In response to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s call for feedback on the current National Drought Agreement, FPA Head of Policy, Strategy and Innovation, Ben Marshan drew attention to the existing National Drought Agreement, in particular section 11 on ‘Shared roles and responsibilities’
It says the Commonwealth, states and territories are responsible for the provision of rural financial counselling services (among other responsibilities).
Marshan says that when considering financial counselling support during times of drought, on a practical level, farming families often have complex financial arrangements that go beyond the areas of advice that a rural financial counsellor could provide at a time of crisis.
“When considering what assistance would be most appropriate to facilitate farming communities’ recovery from the significant economic disruption caused by drought, the FPA believes that it would be beneficial to include the provision of financial planning services,” Marshan says.
“Such support would also assist in the development of farmers, farming families and farming communities’ resilience in the face of future droughts.”
Marshan says the FPA strongly supports the National Drought Agreement and the crucial support all levels of government provide to farmers, farming families and farming communities during these periods of natural disaster.
“We also believe this review is an important opportunity to ensure that adequate and coordinated support across a broad continuum is provided in an efficient and effective fashion to those affected by drought, particularly when they most need it,” he says.