Utilise help services in times of need

Author: Alistair Lawson | Date: 04 Mar 2016

It is critical to be in the right frame of mind before making important financial decisions after serious events such as bushfire, according to South Australia’s Rural Business Support (RBS).

RBS is encouraging growers affected by fire to make use of the services available to them, such as the free Rural Financial Counselling Service to help get them in the right frame of mind when considering things such as insurance and cash flow post-fire.

Mid North-based senior rural financial counsellor Deb Purvis says it is important to plan and acknowledge important issues such as insurance claims and income support payments following fire.

“Get those issues out there on the table and make informed decisions rather than ill-informed decisions, which is possible when you’re not in the right frame of mind,” Mrs Purvis says.

“It is important to seek help when it is needed, as sometimes it is good to talk over significant financial matters with an outside party.”

Once mindset is right, Mrs Purvis says a vital aspect for growers will be to work out what insurance money is going to be forthcoming and determine what shortfalls there might be.

In terms of cash flow and recovery, she says planning will be critical in making decisions and talking with financers.

“Having a plan for the next 12 to 24 months and discussing what requirements there may be and the best way to manage that financially will be critical,” Mrs Purvis says.

“Part of that is making sure to ask questions of the financer about what assistance they can offer and whether there can be an interest-only option around finance structures.”

Any concerns about the tax implications with donated money or insurance payments should be raised with an accountant or the Australian Taxation Office.

Mrs Purvis says it is also important that growers and their families get the right advice about what sort of income support payments they could be eligible for.

“Quite often there are more things available to them than they might know about, and people’s understanding of their eligibility for different payments can get misconstrued over time,” she says.

“It is important to talk to outside parties on such matters and not make your own decisions on eligibility. RBS is a service that can assist with that and if they aren’t eligible for one thing then they could be eligible for another.”

More information

Deb Purvis, 0427 430 244, d.purvis@ruralbusinesssupport.org.au; Judy Goedecke, 0418 856 267, j.goedecke@ruralbusinesssupport.org.au

Australian Taxation Office, www.ato.gov.au, 1800 806 218

Pinery Fire Business Recovery Taskforce

Region South