Small Business

The primary role of the Small Business Rural Financial Counselling Service Program is to support Small Businesses in drought impacted areas who are experiencing hardship associated with the long standing drought conditions, and have no alternative source of impartial support.


The Queensland Government and Financial Counselling Foundation provide funding to deliver the program throughout Southern Queensland.

Head office is based in Roma, and employs Small Business Rural Financial Counsellors who provide rural financial counselling assistance across the region.

Our services are:

  • Free of charge, confidential, impartial and independent,
  • Delivered by skilled, local professionals who know your area and industry.

Small Business Rural Financial Counsellors are unable to provide advice, but can provide you with the tools and knowledge necessary to make informed financial and business decisions.

If you are drought impacted and would like to discuss your financial position and become better prepared to manage future challenges, contact one of our Small Business Rural Financial Counsellors today.

Cunnamulla (Bulloo and Paroo Regional Council Areas)

Lauren Schmidt

0448 021 253

Lauren Schmidt

“I’m looking forward to working with local businesses and helping the people of our country communities”.

Lauren joined SBRFCS in April 2019 to assist Small Businesses in the South Western shires of Queensland. Lauren has spent the majority of her upbringing and working career in these areas and understands the issues they face both short and long term.

Prior to joining SBRFCS Lauren’s background was primarily in Agribusiness. Lauren also recently completed a Diploma in Accounting. Lauren, her husband and three young children live in rural QLD.

Charleville (Murweh, Quilpie, Blackall-Tambo Regional Council Areas)

90 Alfred Street, Charleville QLD 4470

Michelle Gordon

0448 182 161

Michelle Gordon 1

Our new Charleville Small Business counsellor, Michelle Gordon grew up in Augathella.

Married to Peter, the couple have three adult children; Cameron is a mechanic in Toowoomba, Emma is a dietitian in Cairns and Elsie is a vet nurse in Darwin.

Michelle and Peter own and operate a smash repair business in Charleville.

With an extensive background in accounting, Michelle has a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) from USQ.
A keen horsewoman and dressage competitor, she is a Pony club instructor, pony club show jumping judge and course building, Michelle has always been one of those supportive Mum's, getting involved in organisations that reflected her children's interests.

"I'm looking forward to being of assistance to small businesses in our rural communities in these tricky times."


42A Wyndham Street, Roma QLD 4455

Brian Wippell

0447 568 971

Brian Wippell

Brian has lived in the Maranoa and Toowoomba regions all of his life.

He joined the Small Business RFCS in 2019 and will be looking after small business clients and their families in the Maranoa and Balonne areas.

Having completed a Bachelor of Applied Finance and Advanced Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning) he is well equipped to work with you to understand your business and adopt strategies to become more financially self-sufficient.

Prior to this role, Brian was a Financial Adviser where he enjoyed helping his clients achieve their short, medium and longer term financial goals through helping them understand their own financial situations better.


Donna Neale-Arnold

0417 383 288



Jo Tardent

0437 292 848

Jo resized

“It is gratifying to provide support to our primary producers, especially during these challenging times of ongoing drought.”

Jo joined the Roma RFC team in March 2019, she began her career in an accounting firm in Gympie where the majority of her clients were primary producers and small businesses.

Over the years Jo has worked as a Company Accountant for a variety of businesses both corporate and not-for-profit, most recently she has managed her own family business in Roma.

Jo understands the current challenges faced by primary producers and small businesses in drought affected areas and is keen to support those who are experiencing hardship.

Jo holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting & Management) and is currently studying towards her Diploma of Financial Counselling.

Small Business Support Centre (Assisting other areas in Southern Queensland)

1300 732 777


Small Business Rural Financial Counsellors aim to identify options which see you, and your business better equipped to manage your circumstances.

We can:

  • Help you negotiate with lenders and creditors
  • Confidentially assess and prepare reports on your current financial position, cash flow and viability
  • Identify appropriate business options, help you develop an action plan
  • Help prepare you for meetings with financiers

Help you identify the need for advice from, and to prepare for meetings with, professional service providers from both the private and government sectors

Please follow our Small Business Facebook Page to keep up to date.