MANY farmers and small businesses in the Central Highlands are facing serious economic issues for the second or third time in three years caused by weather events, with the latest flood disaster a further kick towards their possible financial ruin.
The federal and state-funded Rural Financial Counselling Service is an initiative that offers free financial counselling to farmers and small businesses from across the region, and those affected are urged to seek assistance from this service.
In a cruel twist of fate, Emerald-based Rural Financial counsellor Emma Cook was a flood victim herself when her office at the showgrounds was inundated and left in a squalid state.
Despite the setback, Ms Cook has continued operating her mobile service wherever needed around the highlands, trekking from her Anakie home to properties and businesses around the region to offer financial counselling free of charge.
Urging owners to not ignore any bubbling fiscal problems, Ms Cook said some of the large underlying issues may take time to completely surface and that they were much easier to deal with on a smaller scale.
“There is this perception among many rural Australians that people elsewhere are always worse off,” Ms Cook said. “That’s something we need to break down and I encourage all affected to call for this assistance.
“Nip these financial issues in the bud early and they become a lot easier to deal with and manage. Many are only thinking about today and tomorrow and they don’t realise the severity of their growing problem.”
Ms Cook said the recent flood event could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for many rural Queenslanders if they do not address their financial future.
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