Federal Government Announces Additional $2 Billion For Drought Loans

23 July 2020

Key points

  • An additional $2 billion announced for the RIC’s drought-related loans
  • Applications for interest-free loan terms will close 30 September
  • Applications received after 30 September will still have record low interest rates
  • AgriStarter Loan applications will open from 1 January 2021
  • An additional $50 million in RIC operational funding to deliver more loans

The additional funding is in response to solid demand for RIC's drought loan products and effectively doubles RIC's total farm and small business loan funds to $4b.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said unprecedented demand for the concessional loans showed what a useful support mechanism it had become for rural businesses.

"These loans have been critical in helping farmers and small businesses facing hardship due to the drought."

A new record low variable interest rate of 1.92 per cent for farm business loans and 1.46 per cent for water infrastructure loans will be effective from 1 August 2020.

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JobKeeper and JobSeeker changes announced by the Federal Government

22 July 2020

Yesterday, The Prime Minister and Treasurer announced an extension of the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments as well as changes to the schemes that will take effect after the planned end date in September. 

JobKeeper 2.0

Key points:

  • Jobkeeper “1.0” will continue as planned until 27 September 2020
  • Jobkeeper “2.0” will apply for a further 6 months from 28 September 2020 through to 28 March 2021
  • The current $1,500 per fortnight subsidy will be reduced from 28 September 2020 with the introduction of a two tiered payment system.
  • Access to Jobkeeper 2.0 will depend on satisfying the decline in turnover tests for both the June and September 2020 quarters with the test reapplied for the December 2020 quarter for continued access from 4 January 2021.

The JobKeeper scheme which was originally due to end this September has been extended for a further 6 months for businesses and not for profits that continue to be in financial distress due to COVID-19. 

From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, JobKeeper payments will be $1,200 a fortnight for eligible full-time workers and eligible business participants. Eligible employees and eligible business participants that worked fewer than 20 hours a week will receive $750 per fortnight.

JobKeeper payments will be further reduced starting on 4 January 2021. From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 eligible fulltime workers and eligible business participants will receive $1,000 a fortnight. Eligible employees and business participants that worked less than 20 hours a week will receive $650 a fortnight. 

In order to determine how many hours that an eligible employee has worked, the four weeks for pay periods before 1 March 2020 will be assessed. Eligible business participants will be entitled to the higher rate where they were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average in the month of February 2020.

The Commissioner of Taxation will have the discretion to set out alternative tests where an employee or business participant’s hours were not usual during February 2020.

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2019 Australian Cotton Comparative Analysis Released

1 July 2020

The 2019 Australian Cotton Comparative Analysis report has been recently published.

The analysis is conducted annually by Boyce Chartered Accountants, the largest regionally based accounting firm in Australia, in conjunction with the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC).

The 2019 analysis is the fifteenth report to be produced by Boyce and CRDC.  From 1986 to 2004 the report was published independently by Boyce.

The aim of the study is to collect and critically analyse data that will assist the industry to grow and develop sustainably through a focus on best practice techniques. The study is regarded by the cotton industry as the benchmark for the economics of cotton growing in Australia.

The 2019 report is based on sample figures from participants who produce 165,000 bales, which is approximately 8% of the total Australian cotton production.

The 2019 report reveals that the average group achieved a loss per hectare of $156, down from $2,234 in 2018 which was the highest in the reports history.

It was still an excellent season for growers in the top 20% group, with a profit of $3,515 per hectare compared to the five year average of around $3,295.

Report co-author Hamish Cullenward, a director of Boyce Wagga, noted that ‘those who had access to cheap water and pre-sold cotton when prices were high did very well.

Boyce and CRDC encourage all growers to consider participating in the benchmarking study as a way to greatly enhance understanding of the key drivers that consistently define the top cotton producers in Australia.

The 2019 Australian Cotton Comparative Analysis can be downloaded here.

For more information contact Simon Sellars or Hamish Cullenward at Boyce Wagga on 02 6971 0600.