The Government’s Budget will see the delivery of its election commitment to establish a Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) to streamline the delivery of up to $4 billion in concessional loans.
The Government will introduce legislation this year to establish the RIC as a separate entity within the Agriculture portfolio and says it will be engaging with the agricultural sector to discuss the new loan settings prior to the RIC opening its doors in 2018.
The RIC will administer the Government’s $2 billion farm business concessional loans from 2018–19, as well as the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility and be governed by an independent board and CEO with commercial experience.
Prime Minister Turnbull says through the RIC, the Government will be making concessional loans available to farm businesses that are experiencing hardship but are keen to pursue opportunities to expand their business and boost their long-term profitability.
“Australia’s $64 billion agricultural industries are not only the economic backbone of rural and regional communities; they also make a massive contribution to our national bottom line. It is vital that our farm businesses remain strong, resilient and profitable.”
“The RIC will also help fast-track the construction of dams and priority water infrastructure projects needed to stimulate investment, economic growth and increased agricultural productivity in rural and regional communities.”
RIC water infrastructure loans will provide an incentive to states and territories to break ground on priority water infrastructure projects that will generate local jobs, create better opportunities for rural and regional communities, and help agricultural industries expand and increase in productivity.
Until the RIC is open for business, it is intended that farm businesses will be able to continue to apply for concessional loans through their state’s delivery agency. State and territory governments can continue to apply for water infrastructure loans through the department at agriculture.gov.au/waterloans.