VFF concerned State Government's $460m Rural Finance Corporation sale could affect farmer benefits

Victorian Farmers Federation vice-president and Murra Warra farmer David Jochinke. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Victorian Farmers Federation vice-president and Murra Warra farmer David Jochinke. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

THE Victorian Farmers Federation is concerned how the State Government will spend its $460-million windfall from the sale of the Rural Finance Corporation.

The government announced on Monday it would sell the corporation to Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. 

Federation vice-president and Murra Warra farmer David Jochinke said the government did not outline how the money from the sale would be spent in Tuesday's state budget.

“We are asking questions about where the additional funding has gone,” he said.

“We need clarification around the total income the government received and how it’s going to benefit rural and regional Victoria.”

The Rural Finance Corporation provided loans and financial aid to farmers. 

Mr Jochinke said he was concerned the sale of the corporation would mean losing benefits for farmers in exceptional circumstances.

“I’d be very alarmed if the benefits for farmers didn’t continue,” he said.

“As long as the money is coming back to regional and rural Victoria, I am not too worried,” he said. - David Jochinke

Mr Jochinke said he hoped the money from the sale would be spent on infrastructure in regional Victoria.

“As long as the money is coming back to regional and rural Victoria, I am not too worried,” he said.

Federation chief executive Graeme Ford said the Rural Finance Corporation had fostered long-term agricultural prosperity by supporting young farmers and administering industry restructures, land restructures and productivity programs across Victoria for more than 65 years.

“We want a guarantee the corporation’s Young Farmer Finance Scheme and its administration of drought and other concession loan schemes are maintained and independently administered,” he said.

Rural Finance Corporation chief executive Rob Goudswaard said it would be business as usual for clients and staff.

“Not only will we honour all commitments and agreements with clients, but all our managers will continue to focus on growth,” he said.

“Clients will benefit and we will still provide full banking services.

“We look forward to working closely with our staff, clients and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.”

Mr Goudswaard said the corporation was pleased with the sale.

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