New Mt Gambier office affirms support for South East small business owners impacted by COVID-19

Rural Business Support (RBS) is increasing its commitment to supporting South East farmers and small business owners to manage the financial impact of the pandemic by opening a new office in Mount Gambier.

Through the delivery of the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) and new Small Business Financial Counselling (SBFC) program, the RBS team can work with eligible impacted farmers and small business owners to develop and implement plans to recover. With COVID-19 now adding another layer of complexity for businesses, RBS is encouraging people to call in on 1800 836 211 to discuss their situation and find out about the available free and confidential support.

RBS Small Business Financial Counsellor Darrel Soderlund has joined the RBS team, based at the organisation’s new Mount Gambier office at 152 Jubilee Highway East. Naracoorte based Rural Financial Counsellor Lachie Hood also works with eligible primary producers in the region.

With issues including the impact of border restrictions on tourism, staffing shortages and uneasiness by some lenders, RBS offers experienced and empathic support for South East small business owners to assess their options and find a way forward.

RBS CEO Brett Smith said that RBS financial counsellors could work with small business owners to help them prioritise the important decisions and develop plans to help them gain some clarity amid the uncertainty.

“Our financial counsellors live and work in the South East, so they understand the complex challenges involved with operating a business in the current COVID climate,” he said.

“There are a lot of brave faces at the moment, but RBS is urging South East small business owners to see if you’re eligible for our free, independent and confidential services. Whether you’re a primary producer or run a main street business, our services are here to help.

“Initially this might involve looking into government grants or other payment options to help ease some of the financial pressure. Our team can help you consider different options you may have to improve your business, then work with you to develop a plan to keep the business on track and you feeling in control.”

RBS financial counsellors can also provide support to:

  • Develop plans to manage cash flow and creditor payments
  • Prepare for talks with lenders and insurance companies
  • Access dispute resolution services
  • Connect with broader professional advice and support
  • Apply for government and community grants, programs or schemes

RBS rural financial counsellors help eligible primary producers who are in financial difficulty to take action to develop and implement plans to improve their financial position. This includes farmers, fishers, forest growers and harvesters and owners of small agriculture-related rural businesses. RFCS also has information on programs and assistance that may be available such as Farm Household Allowance (FHA) and low-interest loans through the Rural Investment Corporation (RIC).

The RBS Small Business team works with small business owners beyond the farm gate. They can also help approved clients to access a Professional Services Fund, which can be used to cover the costs of specialist third-party advice beyond the scope of financial counselling services, such as financial planning and specialist taxation and accounting advice, or training.

Rural Business Support is funded to deliver the RFCS and SBFC programs by the Australian and South Australian Governments.

To confirm eligibility for RBS support and be connected with a financial counsellor please call RBS on 1800 836 211.