|Description of this FunctionDescription of this Function|
Each new rural financing scheme has carried forward the servicing of debts incurred under its predecessor. There has been a gradual broadening also of the focus, so that what began as a scheme for assisting debt-ridden farmers in the Depression has come to comprehend financing of many of the activities included under the function of regional development.
The first such agency was the Farmers Relief Board established under the provisions of the Unemployed Occupiers and Farmers Relief Act 1931. In 1935 this was replaced by the Farmers Debts Adjustments Board established under the Farmers Debts Adjustment Act 1935. This Board consisted of three members appointed by the Governor in Council with the chairman being a person experienced in legal and business matters. One other member was to have practical farming experience and the other to have commercial experience. Farmers were to be able to apply for an adjustment of debts to a local conciliation officer. If satisfied that the application was a valid one a stay order would be issued suspending creditors rights to enable a plan of debt adjustment to be formulated, registered with the Board and carried out. The Board had the power to make recommendation to the Closer Settlement Commission for advances to the farmer to enable farming operations to be carried on.
With the passing of the Rural Finance Corporation Act 1949 this agency was superseded by the Rural Finance Corporation I.. The Corporation consisted of three members appointed by the Governor in council with one having to have knowledge and experience in business finance and another knowledge of and experience in primary production. The Corporation was able to raise money by application to the Public Account, by the issuing of debentures or inscribed stock or from interest charged on loans and other fees and charges. The Corporation was authorised to make loans to persons or bodies carrying on primary industry, for secondary industry in non-metropolitan areas and for the co-operative marketing or manufacture of rural products. As well, the Corporation took on the debt adjustment functions of the Farmers Debt Adjustment Board.
In 1962, the functions of the Rural Finance Corporation were combined with those of the Soldier Settlement Corporation (VA 2270) by the provisions of the Rural Finance and Settlement Commission Act 1961. This Commission had two branches. The Settlement Branch administered activities under the Soldier Settlement Act 1958 and the Land Settlement Act 1959. The Finance Branch handled matters previously dealt with by the Rural Finance Corporation.
The Rural Finance Commission was established in 1977 by the Rural Finance and Settlement Commission (Amendment) Act and was empowered to make loans to primary industry and country secondary industry. As an agent of the treasurer it administered a number of schemes including the Commonwealth / State Rural Adjustment Schemes and Natural Disaster Lending.
The Rural Finance Corporation was established on 1 July 1988 under the Rural Finance Act 1988 (No.44). Its charter is to promote and support rural industries and economic growth in regional Victoria. The responsibilities of the Rural Finance Corporation, as set down by its establishing Act are:
to provide financial and other services to rural industries
on the direction of the Treasurer, to administer State and Commonwealth schemes of assistance or other schemes
to administer the remaining purchase leases, mortgages, contracts of sale and other interests created under the Land Settlement Act 1959 (No.6534) and the Soldier Settlement Act 1958 (No.6373)
to co-ordinate financial resources for investment in rural industries
to facilitate an increase in the availability of finance to persons engaged in or seeking to establish rural industry
to provide services and advice to government with regard to rural industries and rural affairs
where appropriate to undertake promotional activities to further the objectives of the Rural Finance Act 1988 (No.44).
In order to fulfil its functions the Corporation is able to acquire and
dispose of property and provide or arrange loans for commercial and rural purposes.
In November 1988 most of the assets and liabilities of the Victorian Economic Development Corporation (VA 1109) were transferred to the Rural Finance Corporation after the V.E.D.C. was wound down. All current commercial and rural loan arrangements established by the V.E.D.C. were administered by the Rural Finance Corporation.
The Corporation is administered by a Board of Management appointed by the Governor-In-Council and has a Chief Executive Officer appointed by the Board.