Helping Hand For District's Farmers

Tuesday, 5 July 2016
Portland district dairy farmers facing financial problems in the wake of major price cuts are being encouraged to seek free help if they need it.

Portland District Health is part of Farmers Regional Health and Wellbeing Group and is supporting access to the Rural Financial Counselling Service.

David Stafford from the South West Victoria and Wimmera Rural Financial Counselling Service said the free independent advice could help farmers and other small business people to get through the tough times and be ready for when conditions improve.

We help people with anything financial and assist families assess and understand their financial position, Mr Stafford said. If people are facing difficulties we can explore options to improve the situation, such as preparation of cash flow, forward forecasting, negotiations with suppliers or financiers, and applications for income assistance and concessional loans.

Mr Stafford said most recent calls to the service had come from dairy farmers.

Dairy farmers are the major client at the moment because of the impact the price drop is having on people, but up until March there were also many drought-impacted farms seeking assistance.

Mr Stafford said farmers were starting to cut back on stock levels and general spending.

A rural financial counsellor can meet people on their property, office or another convenient location

The service is free, independent of financial institutions, welfare organisations or government and can help with information, guidance and support

We can help them through that process in setting up budgets and goals and make sure they are in a good position when things improve, he said.

PDH Director of Primary and Community Health, Fiona Heenan, said the service was available to anyone affected by the dairy downturn. It's for farmers, employees, farming families, but also small businesses impacted on due to the downturn of spending by the industry, she said.

People needing support can contact 1300 735 578 or go to

Portland District Health also has a professional confidential counselling service that can be accessed by calling 55210333.

Lifeline's 24 hour telephone crisis support service is available to anyone needing support on 13 11 14.

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