Drought Assistance Concessional Loans

​​​​On 9 May 2017 the Australian Government announced that until the Regional Investment Corporation is open for business, it is intended that farm businesses will be able to continue to apply for the Farm Business Concessional Loans Scheme through their state or Northern Territory delivery agency.

Drought Assistance Concessional Loans aim to help farm businesses experiencing financial difficulty due to the effects of drought.

A Drought Assistance Concessional Loan can be used by a farm business so it can operate during a drought, recover when the drought breaks and prepare for future droughts.

Loans are available for a maximum of 10 years at a variable concessional interest rate of 2.47 per cent (as at 1 February 2017).

Loan amounts are for up to 50 per cent of a farm business’s final debt position to a maximum of $1 million in total.

Drought Assistance Concessional Loans can be used for a combination of the following purposes:

  • debt restructuring
  • new debt for operating expenses
  • new debt for drought preparedness activities or
  • drought recovery activities.

Delivery agency contacts

Drought Assistance Concessional Loans will be delivered by different agencies in different jurisdictions, on behalf of the Australian Government.

More information, including scheme guidelines and application requirements, are available from the relevant delivery agency website for your jurisdiction.

JurisdictionStatus of Drought Assistance Concessional Loans 2016-17WebsiteContact Phone
QueenslandOpen for applications QRAA1800 623 946
TasmaniaOpen for applications State Growth1800 440 026
New South Wales Open for applications NSW RAA1800 678 593

Open for applications

Rural Finance1800 260 425
South Australia

Open for applications


1800 182 235
Northern TerritoryOpen for applications DPIR08 8936 4089

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Key eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a Drought Assistance Concessional Loan, a farm business must:

  • be experiencing financial difficulty due to the effects of drought
  • have the capacity to repay the loan and sound prospects for a return to commercial viability within the loan term
  • have taken steps to prepare your business for the effects of drought, including through an acceptable Drought Management Plan
  • have the support of your current lender(s) if a Drought Assistance Concessional Loan is approved​
  • provide satisfactory security against the loan.

You must submit a valid Bureau of Meteorology Rainfall Deficiency Report with your application.

Please read the loan guidelines for full details on eligibility and how the loan application will be assessed. The guidelines are available on each delivery agency website.

Jurisdictions open for applications

Drought Assistance Concessional Loans are open for applications in:

  • Queensland
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • South Australia
  • New South Wales​​
  • Northern Territory

Loan terms

The variable interest rate is set at 2.47 per cent (as at 1 February 2017). The interest rate will be reviewed on a six-monthly basis.​

A Drought Assistance Concessional Loan has a maximum loan term of 10 years, with interest only repayments for the first five years.

Loan recipients will need to refinance the remaining loan balance with a commercial lender at the end of the loan term. Some loan recipients may be in a position to repay the loan balance without refinancing.

Effect on debt levels

Drought Assistance Concessional Loans for debt restructuring do not add to a farm business’ overall debt. These loans can provide relief for eligible farm businesses by refinancing some of their existing debt at a lower interest rate.

Loan funds for operating expenses and drought recovery and preparedness activities represent new debt for a farm business. This would provide a cash injection for farm businesses to meet their immediate financial needs and continue day-to-day operations.

Assessing eligibility

It is important that farm businesses do not self-assess their eligibility for a Drought Assistance Concessional Loan. You should contact your delivery agency for assistance and details on the application process.

Relationship between concessional loans

Loan recipients under previous concessional loans schemes may also be eligible for a Drought Assistance Concessional Loan if the farm business meets the eligibility and loan assessment criteria set out in the Drought Assistance Concessional Loans scheme guidelines.

A farm business that is approved for a Drought Assistance Concessional Loan may also be eligible for a Dairy Recovery Concessional Loan, if the farm business meets the eligibility and loan assessment criteria. Further information on Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans is available in the scheme guidelines which will be available from the relevant jurisdiction’s delivery agency website.

The maximum amount of a Drought Assistance Concessional Loan, Farm Finance Concessional Loan, Drought Concessional Loan and/or a Drought Recovery Concessional Loan that can be held by a farm business is $2 million in total. In addition to this, a farm business may also hold a Dairy Recovery Concessional Loan of up to $1 million.