What we do
relief [ri-leef] noun
1. Food, money or services for individuals in need. 2. Reassurance following release from anxiety or distress. 3. Prevention of poverty
Read our Impact Report for 2023
In the face of unprecedented challenges presented by the 2019-2020 Black Summer Bushfires, the prolonged drought, and the COVID pandemic, Rural Business Support (RBS) took a decisive step in July 2022 by launching the RBS Relief Fund. This initiative is a cornerstone in our commitment to assist rural business families who are in distress, offering essential financial assistance and wellbeing support.
Our aim is to continue assisting farmers and small family businesses to rebuild financially and enhance family wellbeing.
We are proud of our progress in our inaugural year of the Relief Fund and thank you for your support to help rural families in tough times.
Together, our journey is just beginning.
Some say that drought, like floods, fires and cyclones, is part of the Australian landscape. Farmers are optimists and adaptive. Whether it’s a drought or a downpour during harvest, responding to a crop pest infestation, or a sudden loss of livestock, it doesn’t matter.
There is always something that Aussie farmers have to cope with. Then there’s the changing landscape of farming, succession planning, the high cost of technological infrastructure required to meet the demand for economies of scale, and the market risks when critical items, like fertiliser costs and diesel go through the roof, while market prices crash.
Some farmers have effective strategies for managing risk and are well prepared for droughts, floods, fires and other economic hits. But not all farmers have the resources nor financial resilience to manage simultaneous or long-term events like the ones seen in recent years: drought followed by bushfire followed by a pandemic.
For these farmers, our first step is to provide some relief through the RBS Relief Fund. The RBS Relief Fund aims to provide practical and immediate relief to primary producers, foresters, fishers and small related agricultural enterprises in distress and at risk of poverty, financial distress, or emotional hardship due to adverse events or natural disasters beyond their control.
Launched in July 2022, the RBS Relief Fund has three priorities:
Small non-repayable support grants that provide household relief enabling struggling farming families and small rural enterprises in SA and NT to meet their day-to-day living expenses.
Support Grants may be used to provide
- Council Rates
- Emergency Clothing / Footwear
- Emergency Accommodation / Temporary Housing
- Medical Fees (including medication, specialist appointments, GAP payments)
- Pet Food
- Vehicle license renewal
No more than 15% of monies donated will be withheld for administration and reporting on impact.
Project Based Relief
We partner with likeminded organisations in the period following a major event or long-term situational distress to develop and deliver bespoke programs focused on relieving anxiety and creating stability assisting in individual and community recovery, and to enhance their opportunities to build resilience.
- 2021 Kangaroo Island fire affected Farmers’ Tour to the 2015 Pinery Fire Ground
Proudly supported by Bank SA Foundation
- 2022 Pinery to Kangaroo Island Reconnect and Recovery Tour
Proudly supported by NAB Foundation
Our intimate knowledge of regional communities in South Australia and the Northern Territory affected by natural disasters and other events enables us to distribute funds to rural families who are in immediate need and find themselves unable to meet their day-to-day living expenses.
We are proud to partner with humanitarian networks and welfare agencies to distribute funds to rural families in SA and the NT.
- $1,080,000 – SA CWA Emergency Relief to farming families impacted by drought, bushfire and floods
- $61,000 – Rotary SA Drought Relief for farming families
- $14,058 – Red Cross Grant to assist in the facilitation of Emergency Relief Funds
- $97,500 – Wyatt Trust Capacity Grants enable South Australian farmers and small and family business owners suffering financial hardship to access additional financial support to help them recover and build financial resilience
Natural Disaster Support Grants – Flood
The RBS Relief Fund is currently helping South Australian farming families and owners of small related agricultural enterprises who are doing it tough following the River Murray Flood event.
Our Natural Disaster Support Grants (NDSG), of up to $1500, can be used to pay for specific items, services, or bills; assisting flood impacted farmers and owners of small agricultural enterprises to meet their daily needs as they recover.
RBS is accepting applications for NDSG from a Business Financial Counsellor on behalf of their case managed client; a government or welfare agency supporting the recovery effort; agricultural industry bodies or service providers with whom RBS has a trusted relationship.
Please note that the RBS Relief Fund will not accept applications from individuals on their own behalf. Applications will be assessed against the eligibility criteria and evidence of direct damage will be required for the application.
Please contact Mon Saunders, Communications and Philanthropy Manager at Rural Business Support on 1800 836 211 if you are applying for the first time or if you have any questions regarding the process.
“When farmers spend less, the community shrinks…You begin losing services. The hardware shop closes, one of the hairdressers leaves. The Doctor leaves and the emergency department at the local hospital closes. The next thing you know, people are being laid off and are leaving town.” – Andrew, Farmer
Support our farmers
Through our programs, RBS has been helping farmers rural communities to recover from hardship and build resilience since 2006.
As a specialist farming and rural charity, we have the reach, relationships, networks and know-how to ensure that relief is provided when and where it is needed as we work towards sustainable and resilient rural communities together.
Help us to do more – a little help can go a long way.
Become a Relief Fund Champion
We know that while farmers and their communities need our help in times of crisis, they also need ongoing support to build resilience and the capabilities to recover from adversity for the long term.
Recovery takes time. RBS is committed to being there for the long term, and we hope that you will be too.
At RBS, we’d love the opportunity to truly understand your commitment to supporting our farming communities and how we can work together to ensure the maximum impact from your gift.
We welcome your involvement in any of the following areas:
- Make an annual donation to the Relief Fund on behalf of your organisation
- Establish a workplace giving program offering your employees the opportunity to make payroll deductions
- Lean in with other likeminded organisations who depend on resilient rural communities to help fund resilience and recovery projects in rural communities
Become a Corporate Relief Fund Champion
Recognition for our Corporate Supporters can be personal, and we’d like to acknowledge your support in a way that is meaningful to you and your employees.
Get in Touch
Please reach out to RBS Chief Executive Officer Brett Smith, or Mon Saunders, Communications & Philanthropy Manager on 1800 836 211, for a confidential chat about how you, and your organisation can join our growing group of corporate supporters.
RBS is an independent charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) and has deductible gift recipient (DGR) status, which means that donations over $2 are tax-deductible.