Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 1960 Rural Credits Department

The function of the Rural Credits Department is to make advances to marketing authorities and co-operative associations operating in the interest of primary producers. Loans are made on a short term seasonal basis to finance payments to growers for primary produce and its subsequent orderly marketing. In some instances finance is also made available to assist the processing or manufacture of primary produce and the marketing of such processed products. Advances are made at low interest rates, making it possible for the man on the land to receive payments in respect of his produce, pending its sale on local or overseas markets.

Substantial accommodation has been made available by the Department, particularly in postwar years. Finance for the marketing of wheat, and to a lesser extent dairy products and barley, has comprised the major portion of accommodation provided, but the Department's operations have also covered a wide range of other commodities. These include cotton, grain sorghum, peanuts, tobacco, canning fruits, dried fruits, meat, eggs, sugar, fertilisers and copra from the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

In the year under review, outstanding advances rose to a peak of £97 million in March, compared with the 1958/59 peak of £100 million. Following the normal seasonal pattern, outstanding advances had fallen to £75 million at the end of June, compared with £72 million at the end of June, 1959.

Profits for the year, amounting to £322,108 were, as in the past, distributed one half to the Department's Reserve Fund and the remainder to the Rural Credits Development Fund, to be used for the promotion of primary production. Primary producers thus also receive a material indirect benefit from the Department's operations.

During the year grants totalling £97,088 were made from the Development Fund to assist organisations engaged in research and extension work. The organisations included universities, junior farmer movements, research institutes and committees. Projects supported included research into soil fertility, beef cattle, the physiology of sheep under tropical conditions, fruit growing and marketing problems, pasture improvement, farm management and agricultural engineering and economics.

Grants from the Development Fund since its inception in 1925 now total almost £1,300,000.