Excerpt from the Chair’s Report
The Board, management team and staff of Sunraysia Rural Financial Counselling Services Inc. (SunRCS) have continued to promote the profile and availability of the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) across the whole of the North West region in 2017 and 2018. We will continue to raise awareness of the Service with stakeholders, farmers, rural small businesses and their communities.
Many farmers in North West Victoria enjoyed healthy returns in 2017/18 as a result of good seasonal conditions. Some sectors continued to be plagued by poor returns or poor crops, most notably the dairy, pork and some far North West grain producers.
A very dry autumn/winter period has many broad acre farmers concerned about the outlook for the 2018/19 season. The spectre of drought is the major concern across eastern Australia.
Nationally, there are several very pleasing developments for the Rural Financial Counselling Service including:
a) A revitalised determination of all twelve groups contracted to deliver the Service to work co-operatively together to ensure better outcomes for farming clients.
b) A new, refreshingly enthusiastic approach by Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) staff coupled with a willingness to consult about and drive change. DAWR has provided robust support to increase Rural Financial Counselling Services profile and resource base.
I am looking forward to further commitment from DAWR and the twelve Services to work on a national communication strategy, strategic policy input and a more robust engagement with Farm Household Allowance.
It’s an important part of SunRCS’s role to monitor the climactic, economic and other environmental factors that will impact farming businesses in North West Victoria.