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13 October 2016: QRAA helps keep Queensland nut industry competitive

13 October 2016

QRAA are set to share new ways their productivity loans can help macadamia growers face foreign competition, at the Australian Macadamia Industry Conference in Caloundra.

Client Liaison Officers Bill Fletcher (Sunshine Coast and Burnett) and Mark Barrett (Wide Bay and Fraser Coast) will be attending the conference from 18-20 October. They look forward to discussing the opportunities presented by recent changes to QRAA’s First Start and Sustainability Loans.

From October 7, First Start Loans of up to $2 million and Sustainability Loans of up to $1.3 million are available. Previously, the maximum loan amount for both programs was $650,000.

First Start Loans help emerging producers purchase their first farm or buy into the family business, while Sustainability Loans assist existing growers with expansion, improvement projects like irrigation and purchasing new equipment such as sprayers and harvesters.

“These increases mean we’re able to help even more macadamia producers, and in doing so, help Queensland keep up with demand in a rapidly growing international market,” said Mr Fletcher.

Another positive change for macadamia growers is the First Start and Sustainability Loans’ extended interest-only period of up to five years (previously two). This repayment option is tailored to individual requirements and budgets.

“Tree crops like macadamias take longer to reach maturity, so this extension is great news,” said Mr Barrett. “Along with the interest rates as low as 3.11 per cent, it has real potential to reduce financial pressure on growers.”

Aimee and James Thomas of Falkirk Farm are among growers who have already partnered with QRAA, taking advantage of the low interest rates on offer to build their macadamia operation.  The couple purchased their property at Lower Wonga with a First Start Loan from QRAA. Three years later, they have plans for a significant upgrade to their current water infrastructure with the potential to dramatically increase their yield.

“If it wasn’t for QRAA, getting to where we are would have been really difficult – and I’m sure there are a lot of people in the same boat,” Aimee said.

QRAA is proud to support macadamia growers in achieving their goals, and is a Bronze Sponsor of the Australian Macadamia Industry Conference.

First Start and Sustainability Loans are funded by the Queensland Government and administered by QRAA.

Producers can find out more about the programs and these changes by visiting

Last updated
10 May 2017