Drought Assistance Concessional Loans

Drought Assistance Concessional Loans are available to assist eligible farm businesses in South Australia to continue to operate through drought conditions, recover once the season breaks and prepare for future droughts..

The Australian Government is providing South Australia with a total of $10 million for the provision of both the Drought Assistance Concessional Loans and Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans Scheme for the 2016/17 application period.

Farmers may also be eligible for the Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans, which assist commercially viable dairy farm businesses, who supplied milk to Murray Goulburn or Fonterra in 2015/16, through the short-term crisis caused by reduced farm gate milk prices.

Key features of the Drought Assistance scheme

  • Loans can be used for the purposes of:
    • debt restructuring
    • providing new debt for operating expenses
    • providing new debt for drought recovery activities (when seasonal conditions allow)
    • providing new debt for drought preparedness activities
    • any combination of all the above.
  • Loan amounts will be up to 50% of the farm business final debt position to a maximum of $1 million
  • A maximum loan term of 10 years, with interest only repayments for the first 5 years.
  • A variable concessional interest rate applies to the 10 year term of the loan.
  • The interest rate is set by the Australian Government and reviewed every 6 months. As at 1 November 2016 the rate is 2.47 per cent.
  • Principal and interest repayments apply from years 6 to 10 of the loan, calculated on the basis of a 10-year loan term.
  • The farm business must repay or refinance the remaining loan balance at the end of the loan term.
  • Applications will close when funds are fully committed or on 30 June 2017, whichever occurs first.


To be eligible for a Drought Assistance Concessional Loan you and your farm business must:

  • Demonstrate that they meet the drought assistance concessional loan eligibility criteria. Detailed information about the eligibility criteria for drought assistance concessional loans is available in the Scheme Guidelines (PDF 429.9 KB).
  • Complete and submit an application with all the necessary supporting documentation including evidence to demonstrate the following:
    • Be able to return to commercial viability in the long term.
    • Be experiencing a significant financial impact, causing a financial need for assistance.
    • Have experienced 1 in 20 year (or worse) drought conditions over at least a 2 year period OR can demonstrate that you have experienced a significant financial impact as a direct result of drought over at least a 2 year period.
    • Have taken reasonable steps to prepare your business for the effects of drought, including the provision of an acceptable drought management plan.
    • Have seasonal conditions that allow for eligible planting and restocking activities to commence. You can still lodge application if this information is not available at time of application however final approval will be subject to meeting all eligibility criteria, including confirmation that seasonal conditions allow for eligible planting and restocking activities to commence.
    • Have the capacity to repay the loan.
    • Able to provide satisfactory security for the loan.
    • Have the support of your current commercial lender(s) if a Drought Assistance Concessional Loan is approved.

Bureau of Meteorology Rainfall Deficiency Report

Applicants must submit a valid Bureau of Meteorology Rainfall Deficiency Report as part of their application.

A Rainfall Deficiency Report identifies those areas that have experienced the following rainfall deficiency: a rainfall deficiency equivalent to, or worse than, a 1-in-20 year rainfall event which extends 12 months or more.

If your farm business is not located in the above rainfall deficient area you may still be eligible for assistance under the Drought Assistance Concessional Loans Scheme. In this case, you must demonstrate:

  • that your farm business has experienced Significant Financial Impact as a direct result of drought over at least a 2 year period (which can include the forthcoming season); and
  • that you have a Drought Management Plan that demonstrates reasonable steps have been taken to prepare your farm business for the effects of drought.

Get a Rainfall Deficiency Report

Get a report using the Bureau of Meteorology - Australian Rainfall Deficiency Analyser.

To locate your farm business on the Bureau of Meteorology map simply click on the above Australian Rainfall Deficiency Analyser web link and use the scroll-wheel or the "+" and "-" buttons to zoom in or out to locate your property on the map. To ensure the greatest accuracy in obtaining a valid Rainfall Deficiency Report please continue to use the zoom function until your property is positively identified. To avoid inadvertently selecting a neighbouring property make sure your selection is well within your property boundaries.

Once you have accurately located your farm business, simply click your mouse and an option to download a Rainfall Deficiency Report becomes available. Click "download report", and then save/print the Rainfall Deficiency report and attached it to your loan application.

Alternately to using the "+" or "-"buttons to locate your farm business on the map you can enter individual latitude and longitude co-ordinates to generate a report. See how to obtain the latitude and longitude coordinates (PDF 135.9 KB or DOCX 468.3 KB) for assistance with obtaining latitude and longitude co-ordinates for your property.

Your Rainfall Deficiency Report will be valid for a period of 60 days and forms part of your loan application. If you are unable to lodge your application within the 60 day period you will need to obtain a new report.

The Australian Rainfall Deficiency Analyser is updated on the 23rd of each month (or next business day).

When assessing applications, PIRSA will verify information provided by applicants.


PIRSA Prudential & Rural Financial Services

Loan documents

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact PIRSA, Prudential & Rural Financial Services on 1800 182 235 or email pirsa.ruralfinance@sa.gov.au to discuss their proposal and potential eligibility of their farm business.

This program is funded by the Australian Government and delivered by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries through Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).

Page Last Reviewed: 02 Dec 2016
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