RBS expands team to strengthen bushfire recovery support in Adelaide Hills

Rural Business Support (RBS) has welcomed a further three rural financial counsellors to help deliver critical bushfire recovery support to impacted farmers and growers across the Adelaide Hills and surrounding regions.

Tim Modra, Kate Phillips and David Stanton are based out of the RBS Murray Bridge office and will work alongside fellow rural financial counsellors (RFC) Lynton Keen and Julianne Fiebig.

Familiar faces within their respective communities, Tim, Kate and David will provide free, independent and confidential support for eligible businesses to develop and implement plans to recover from the financial challenges the bushfires have generated.

The Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) is a national program, delivered by RBS in South Australia and the Northern Territory. The additional RFC roles are the result of funding from the Federal Government’s recently announced Bushfire Relief Package.

RBS CEO Brett Smith said talking with a rural financial counsellor could often help people to navigate the daily demands of running a farm business and find a way through the uncertainty.

“Whether it’s looking at financial assistance including the Farm Household Allowance and bushfire relief payments that can tide a household over until income levels improve, exploring new loan options through the Regional Investment Corporation, or business transfer or exit plans, these are just some of the ways our team can help farming families through the decision-making process,” Mr Smith said.

“It can be challenging to ask for help, but this is where our experienced team can throw around some suggestions and perhaps provide a bit of clarity during what may otherwise seem a pretty overwhelming time.

“With COVID-19 now causing additional uncertainty, RBS wants to assure rural communities still feeling the pain of the bushfires that we haven’t forgotten them and that our team’s here to help.”

Mr Smith is also urging farmers to take stock of where they’re at with their health and wellbeing; encouraging farmers to look out for themselves and their family through a range of support services.

“If you are starting to feel like you’re not coping, see your local GP or contact the Regional Access Network, a free counselling service for people living in regional SA,” he said. “Another useful, free and farmer-specific resource is www.ifarmwell.com.au.

Rural financial counsellors provide free, independent and confidential support with:

  • Preparing for talks with insurance companies, banks and lenders
  • Preparing cash flow forecasts to meet financial obligations
  • Accessing other professional services
  • Developing and implementing plans to return to ‘normal’ operations.

About Tim Modra:
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Farming is in Tim’s blood – he grew up on the family farm at Western Flat near Bordertown. He later spent 12 years in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as a Captain in the Army, which included postings to Canberra, Darwin and Woodside, including a deployment to Afghanistan. After finishing with the ADF and completing his Masters in Agribusiness Management, Tim moved to a role with Rabobank based out of Adelaide for two years.
Quote from Tim: “I’m looking forward to working through both the old and new challenges faced by the Adelaide Hills and Murraylands communities in this role. I’ve always had a passion for understanding rural business and seeking opportunities and I can’t wait to put those skill-sets into practice.”

About Kate Phillips:
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Kate spent her childhood living in different locations around the world as her father was a RAAF officer but her family calls a small property in the far south coast of NSW home. Kate has spent several years working in the grains industry in South Australia, first with GrainCorp and then most recently as the SA Regional Manager with Agfarm. Kate lives in the Adelaide Hills with her husband, three children, too many horses and a menagerie of other animals.
Quote from Kate: “I’m looking forward to assisting farming families to find positive path ways through these challenging times and to gain additional knowledge and confidence in areas that will assist their faming business to prosper and grow.”

About David Stanton:
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David is a mechanic by trade but has a long career background in banking, previously working for the NAB for 29 years. He is a fifth generation farmer and still runs the farm at Bletchley near Strathalbyn, running merino sheep, plus cropping and some irrigation.
In his spare time, David is an active member of the local CFS.
Quote from David: “I look forward to utilising my skills to help new and existing clients to maintain strong farming businesses.”

Supported by the Australian Government and Governments of South Australia and the Northern Territory, Rural Business Support is currently supporting almost 600 farmers and rural related businesses across SA and NT. To be connected with a rural financial counsellor call 1800 836 211.

Media enquiries:
Brett Smith – CEO of Rural Business Support: 0412 630 015 or email b.smith@ruralbusinesssupport.org.au