REGIONAL businesses waiting for federal government drought assistance have reason to celebrate as registrations for small business drought loans will open on Monday.
Announced in November, the $500,000 loans will be available to eligible farm-dependent small businesses, will come with a two-year interest free period and will be issued by the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC).
The news comes after several New England businesses were desperate for the loans to become available and had contacted their local MPs to help speed the process along.
Minister for Drought and Rural Finance David Littleproud said the loans could help businesses survive until the drought breaks.
"As drought continues to hit small businesses across rural Australia, the RIC's AgBiz Drought Loans will offer financial relief," Mr Littleproud said.
"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our regional communities and they're doing their best to serve farm businesses also affected by this drought.
"Those businesses - livestock transporters, equipment repairers, harvesting contractors - can use these small business drought loans to refinance existing debt, or just keep their businesses going until the drought breaks."
Loans of up to $500,000 will be available with a two-year interest free period. Following those first two years, concessional interest-only payments will apply before principal and interest payments are required in the final five years of the 10-year loan term.
Guidelines and application forms for these new loans will be available on the RIC's website today.