The government-funded Rural Financial Counselling Service provider for Victoria’s rural and regional west welcomed some good news from the National Recovery and Resilience Agency yesterday, with Coordinator-General the Hon Shane L Stone’s announcement of the Regional Small Business Support Program pilot.
The program provides free and independent financial counselling for eligible small businesses through the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) program, which has provided rural financial counselling for primary producers nationwide for over 35 years.
Valued at $8.6 million, the Regional Small Business Support Program pilot ensures continuation of service to small business owners currently benefiting from a program funded to Dec 2021, and ensures readily available support to small businesses yet to access the program.
RFCS Victoria West executive officer David Stafford acknowledged the NRRA’s understanding of both the vitalness and the needs of regional communities.
“We see that when local businesses thrive, local communities thrive, and when regions thrive, Australia thrives,” said Mr Stafford.
“We’ve seen how crucial our small business team’s work has been over the past 18 months yet there are still some regional small business owners who don’t know about us, haven’t accessed our free service, and could really use some assistance.
“It could be a simple issue easily resolved before it becomes more serious however our financial counsellors are often supporting small owners through complex adverse situations.
“Some businesses were already in recovery after being heavily impacted by, for example, the 2019-2020 Black Summer fires, with impacts exacerbated and recovery hindered by the pandemic. And we’ve had small business owners navigating financial stress and uncertainty not only through the pandemic but through the whole gamut of crises that can affect a sole trader, partnership or family business.
“Small business owners can face a range of financial stressors, which I think is better understood by broader community now. Our team of local small business financial counsellors provide practical and strategic support to get a clear picture of the financial situation and plan a way through decreased income, increased costs, meeting rent or debt repayments, debt negotiation or mediation, as well as applications for grants and other support packages.
“Our financial counsellors can also refer on to other specialist support, including our own well-being in business program.
“Getting started is as easy as a phone call to our 1300 number to arrange an initial chat with the local small business financial counsellor. And the value of a local counsellor can’t be understated. They understand local conditions and communities, and can meet you at your place of business, reducing disruption to your day.”
Primary producers and small business owners can contact the service directly on 1300 735 578 or visit RFCSVictoriaWest.com.au.
Executive Officer David Stafford can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rural Financial Counselling Service is an initiative of the Australian Government, with additional funding from the Victoria State Government.
RFCS Victoria West is your local RFCS provider – one of 10 in the national network.
We provide confidential, free and independent farm business and small business support across Victoria’s regional west – from the south coast to Sunraysia and from the SA border to the Goldfields and Macedon Ranges.
Call us directly on 1300 735 578 or find us online –