Financial Counselling & Business Support Experts
Established in 1986, Rural Business Tasmania Inc. is a not-for-profit association that primarily offers financial counselling and business support expertise to rural and regional communities.
Rural Business Tasmania’s key objective is to help rural families, business, and the community manage the ever evolving demands and challenges facing the primary industry sector.
Rural Business Tasmania has assisted many hundreds of Tasmanians to find pathways to sustainable futures. It has extensive networks that connect quickly and deeply into rural and regional communities.
Delivering support to clients for periods up to 5 years, at any one time the Rural Financial Counselling Service is likely to be supporting more than 200+ clients and assisting to manage some $130 million of impaired or at risk assets
Rural Business Tasmania’s crisis support is immediately available to help deal with the aftermath of natural or human disaster. Recovery and rehabilitation services may include independent assessment of needs and subsequent grant assistance options, direct financial support from the Rural Relief Fund, and guidance in the development of recovery or industry exit plans.
Through its voluntary board and skilled personnel Rural Business Tasmania provides support from a knowledge base of more than 100 years of small and rural business experience and some 50 years direct experience in banking and financial services.
Rural Business Tasmania services include:
Rural Financial Counselling Service Tasmania
Supported by the Federal and State Governments, Rural Business Tasmania’s FREE flagship financial counselling service provides confidential and independent assistance to primary producers, fishermen and small rural businesses that are suffering financial hardship, and that have no alternative sources of impartial support, to manage the challenges of change and adjustment.
Farm debt mediation
Cash flow forecasting analysis
Business plan development
Farm exit planning
Small business advisory service
Financial Support Services
Financial Support Services assists families and businesses to better understand their financial position. It offers assistance in budgets and cash flow forecasts preparation and, if deemed necessary, with loan and/or re-finance applications. The service also as required provides highly valued impartial support and mediation including negotiation with creditors and financial institutions.
Bookkeeping and Administration Services
This service primarily offers book keeping and business administration to individuals and businesses that either do not have the time, resources and/or expertise to efficiently and effectively manage this essential business function.
Rural Relief Fund
Established as a Deductible Gift Recipient, the Fund, during fiscally challenging periods - ordinarily times of drought, bushfire and flood - accepts tax deductible donations, and distributes them to impacted farming families and their communities. The Fund gratefully receives generous and ongoing in-kind and financial support from the Rural Youth Organisation of Tasmania whose contribution to date constitutes a majority of monies raised for the benefit of Tasmanian rural communities.
The rural financial counselling service program began nationally during a period of recession in 1986. In Tasmania the Rural Youth Organisation of Tasmania Inc identified the need to assist rural families in crisis. An independent Board was established and included representatives from the sponsor, Rural Youth Organisation of Tasmania Inc, together with TASCOSS, Country Women's Association, Tas Farmers & Graziers Association, Social Security (now Centrelink), Tas Logging Association, Professional Fisherman's Association, Municipal Association, and Aust. Bankers Association.
A dollar for dollar grant was applied for from the Federal Department of Agriculture to establish a free and confidential rural financial counselling service to assist farming families in the rural downturn. Matching sponsorship was secured and Tasmanian Rural Counselling began operation with one rural financial counsellor as a crisis service.
Additional funding allowed for a second counsellor (based in the south) from late 1992 and drought funding in 1995 allowed the service to employ administrative support. From 1995 the service commenced trading as Rural Support Tasmania.
After a two year national review the Australian Government ceased its existing funding arrangements and established as a replacement the Rural Financial Counselling Service with sixteen (16) services across Australia.
In Tasmania, the Association was successful in retaining the contract for provision of services and arrangements remained much the same, although with greater funding provided to move the service to a more corporatised structure, a paid Executive Officer and Board of Governance (rather than volunteer management committee). Streamlined financial counselling rather than holistic whole of service were part of new grant conditions.
Other projects have been undertaken from time to time including the "Networking the Nation" NATT project. Further funding has been provided for drought assistance and due to the closure of McCains processing factory at Smithton. Both of these provided short term employment of additional rural financial counselors.