Water and road infrastructure plans were on the agenda for Queensland Treasury Corporation taking a regional roadshow last week.
CEO, Phil Noble, and client advisory division managing director, Mark Girard, among others, visited local government clients at Moranbah and Clermont, Normanton and Karumba, Cloncurry, and Charleville, accompanied by Brendan Egan, a director with the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority.
While in the Murweh shire they watched some of the healthy bidding at the Gowrie stud’s Simbrah and Simmental bull sale, in advance of hosting a dinner in Charleville for surrounding shire representatives and local business owners to share the economic opportunities they saw for the region.
Questioned as to the interest being shown by other shires in the $18m exclusion fencing loan undertaken by the Longreach Regional Council, Mr Girard said they had sponsored a forum at St George earlier in the year, involving councils from as far east as Southern Downs and west to Quilpie, at which the Longreach Regional Council’s experience was shared.
“We explored the full range of funding opportunities, from QTC loans to be recovered at special rates, all the way through to QRIDA loans, bringing all the stakeholders together,” he said.
“The follow-up was to put together a framework so landholders could better understand what all the different options were and what the tax implications of each are.
“The idea is to encourage people to take advantage of the grant subsidy that’s available or to borrow from banks or QRIDA.”
Mr Egan said QTC was putting a matrix together of all the different funding sources and tax implications, adding that generally, money would be needed from a variety of sources to fund ongoing fencing.
“We borrow money from QTC to on-lend to individual primary producers getting into agriculture or improving. QTC is like our banker,” Mr Egan said. “With drought, people are sitting back a little bit, but we’ve got our regional network out there, talking to people every day.”
He said succession planning was a big focus, loaning $60m in First Start loans last financial year, which they were aiming to increase to $70m this year.
The average age of the 109 applicants in 2017-18 was 36 years, and the beef industry was overwhelmingly the group making the most use of productivity loans at a 58 per cent uptake rate.
Mr Egan said young people could sometimes be viewed as higher risk, which was where QRIDA, as a government lender, could help bridge a finance gap with a commercial lender to give them a start.
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