Bushfire loans stymied by tight fisted policy
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Bushfire loans stymied by tight fisted policy

The Andrews Labor Government’s Bushfire Recovery Concessional Loans program is shaping up to be a complete failure because of the penny-pinching way it is being administered and Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, has this week asked in parliament for an explanation.

“Reliable sources have told me that the Victorian government has approved just over 9% of the bushfire concessional loan applications that have been submitted to it so far, said Mr Bull.

“But in other States, up to 80% of applications have been approved.

“It appears that the government’s lending agency, Rural Finance, is being unreasonably risk averse in comparison to other jurisdictions and in some cases is even ignoring its own guidelines regarding what it terms ‘adequate security’.

“Other criticisms that have been reported include that there has been no allowance made for the impact of drought on the applicant’s previous three years income results. For most applicants, these drought years have been the toughest in living memory.

“With the improved seasonal conditions, we are experiencing in East Gippsland they are now viably positioned for a successful recovery, but Rural Finance remains stubbornly wedded to its crushing rules.

“These concessional loans are supposed to assist primary producers, who have endured three years of drought and then been hammered by the bushfires, to quickly get back on their feet.

“From its record to date, the Bushfire Recovery Concessional Loans program appears to be doing nothing of the sort.

“I have asked the government to make full disclosure of its operation so that we can have some level of confidence that it is operating under nationally consistent terms and eligibility criteria,” said Mr Bull.

Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, says Rural Finance must be more understanding with Bushfire Recovery Concessional Loan applications, understanding the figures of recent years that are being used for assessment were drought years and current seasonal conditions are much better. He says some East Gippsland locations have had just 9% of all applicants to date, when NSW locations have had 80% approval rates.

Monday, November 2, 2020