SUPPORTING the region’s farmers will be a main priority for Gunnedah’s new Rural Financial Counsellor.
Long-time Gunnedah PCYC manager Andrew Formann has taken on the role in the hopes of “being there” for local farmers.
He brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously worked in the field for several years with Centrelink.
“While I was with Centrelink, the people who worked as counsellors were people I really looked up to, so I wanted to get involved and try to help farmers through these drought conditions,” Mr Formann said.
He said he and the Rural Financial Counselling Service would offer a variety of services to farming families.
“It is really about being there to support local farmers,” Mr Formann said.
“We are here to look over their financials for them, give them options and help them fill out any forms they might be struggling with.
“As well as that, we can help analyse their business performance, set up cash flow budgets and there’s also help with succession planning available as well.”
Mr Formann said he was looking to be “proactive” in his new role.
“With the fact many people have not planted a winter crop and are looking at not planting a summer crop, it is expected some people will experience financial hardships,” he said.
“So it is really important that we are proactive in encouraging people to come and see us before things get into that situation.”
The new counsellor said he would also assist farmers in understanding what government support measures they may be eligible for.
“On top of the Farm Household Allowance, there are other things people could be eligible for,” he said.
“For example, there’s the transport subsidies that are available, there’s the Drought Assistance Fund loan and there are farm innovation loans on offer as well.
“One of the other big things we do is help with referrals, so if there is something a client brings to us that we may not be able to help with, we can certainly refer them to someone who can.
“There is a lot on offer to assist farmers in our current climatic conditions.”
Mental health will also be a top priority for Mr Formann in his new role.
“It is something that I care very deeply about,” he said.
“I will always be open to talking to any of my clients and seeing how they are going.
“As well as that, I will be asking my clients regularly how they are going on that front and I will be looking to support them in any way I can.”
- For more information or to book an appointment, contact Andrew Formann via email at email@example.com