Chief Executive Officer of Rural Business Tasmania (Elizabeth Skirving) is calling for Labor and the Greens’ to match the Liberal Party commitment of $800,000 over four years to support investment into Tasmania’s farmers.
“This commitment of $800,000 as part of the Liberal’s $150 million investment into growing Tasmania’s thriving agricultural sector, is a ten-fold increase on our current government investment, it is warmly welcomed and much needed,” Ms Skirving said.
“The additional funding will go towards more financial counsellors to ensure we are best placed to respond to emergencies such as drought or the current fruit-fly outbreak as well as run more financial management and risk mitigation courses.”
Founded and supported by Rural Youth Tasmania and in operation since 1986, Rural Business Tasmania are a registered charity providing a range of services aimed at assisting primary producers who are facing financial hardship or would like to improve their business knowledge with services including financial counselling, debt mediation, succession planning, business plan development, viability analysis and exit planning among others.
Ms Skirving said today that in addition to individual support Rural Business Tasmania also run courses and support programs that producers can attend that encourage improved business knowledge including business expansion and investment attraction as well as mitigating the risk of doing business. The organisation can have in excess of 200 clients, managing assets of around $130 million at any one time.
“Many people don’t realise that primary producers, are often Mum and Dad operations running multi-million dollar businesses. They are dealing with not only the day-to-day running of the farm but also trying to keep on top of business planning, financial administration and marketing their product,” Ms Skirving said.
“This is an enormous amount of pressure for people to deal with and Rural Business Tasmania provides invaluable assistance to people facing severe financial and emotional stress as well as those who just want to improve their skills. This additional money will mean we can provide more services to more people who are struggling and really need our help.”
Ms Skirving said Rural Business Tasmania warmly welcomed the Liberal Party’s strong focus on supporting primary producers and wanted to see matching commitments by other political parties through the election campaign.
“Ensuring Tasmania’s primary producers are supported and able to get on with what they do best is vital to the continued growth of Tasmania’s agriculture sector. Rural Business Tasmania provide an essential service and we would like to see matching funding committed by the other political parties through this election campaign,” Ms Skirving said today.
“Farming is extremely challenging and complex at times and as an ever growing contributor to Tasmania’s economy, needs to be strongly supported by our elected officials. In order to remain strong and competitive we need to ensure Rural Business Tasmania is adequately funded to support producers to remain and continue to revitalise Tasmania’s agriculture sector.”
Elizabeth Skirving, Rural Business Tasmania