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Interest rates announcement to benefit farmers.

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The Hon. Tony Burke MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Interest rates announcement to benefit farmers

2 September 2008 DAFF08/113BJ

The drought and global pressures continue, but farmers will enjoy some financial relief following today’s announcement of a cut in official interest rates, the Rudd Government said today.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke told Federal Parliament today’s announcement will be welcomed by the nation’s farmers.

He said the average farm debt in Australia had more than tripled during the current drought.

“While average farm debt has grown, farmers have also had to cope with the social pressures of drought on their families and communities,” Mr Burke said.

“On top of all that, they have had the rising cost of inputs such as the global fuel price and global fertiliser prices.

“Average farm debt in Australia in 2006-07 was around $702,000 - up from $238,000 per farm for 2001-02 before the current drought.

“If today’s announcement is passed on in full, it will put an average of more than $146 per month back in farming families’ budgets - or around $1,755 per year.

“I would urge rural lenders to quickly pass on the Reserve Bank’s cut in official interest rates.

“The Rudd Government welcomes today’s announcement by the Reserve Bank which will provide some limited relief during challenging times.

“Times are still tough in our rural and regional communities and we will continue working to help our farmers wherever possible.”