$1M for extra financial counsellors in Mayo

$1M for extra financial counsellors in Mayo

An additional four rural financial counsellors have recently started working with bushfire-affected communities in Mayo thanks to the advocacy of local Federal MP Rebekha Sharkie.

Photo: Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie with Small Business Financial Counsellors Cheree Reichl, left, and Erica McAvaney from Rural Business Support. Rebekha secured $1 million for four financial counsellors in Mayo.

The extra $1 million for the counsellors was secured for the electorate as part of a $10 million expansion of financial support services for bushfire regions across Australia.

"In the aftermath of the fires it soon became apparent from talking to farmers and small businesses that our community was desperate for specialised advice and the State and Federal Governments needed to ramp up the business support services already being offered to drought-affected areas," Rebekha said.

"That support included general business advice but did not include counsellors who could directly assist farmers and small businesses recovering from bushfire.

"I am pleased that after I approached the Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, about the need here in Mayo, she acknowledged the situation and allocated the funding needed for two financial counsellors for the Adelaide Hills and two for Kangaroo Island.

"These counsellors are available free of charge not only for primary producers but also to assist local businesses with financial planning, mentoring and coaching.

"This week I met with representatives from Rural Business Support (RBS) to discuss their work in the community.

"They advised me that drought, bushfires and now the COVID-19 restrictions have presented businesses with significant challenges.

"They are urging farmers and business owners to seek advice sooner rather than later so problems do not escalate.

"I was heartened to hear that, with the support of RBS, some businesses were able to identify areas where they could potentially grow their business.

"Also, there are still $10,000 small business support grants available through the South Australian Department of Innovation and Skills, partly funded through the Commonwealth.

"For more information contact my office on 8398 5566 or call Rural Business Support directly on 1800 836 211."