ANZ’s new support package for farmers has been welcomed by the Member for Mount Isa, Rob Katter, who organised last Friday’s Rural Debt Crisis Summit, “Last Stand at Winton”.
“I appreciate that ANZ the only bank to make an effort in getting a representative there and he was there to listen, ” Mr Katter said.
The measures include a moratorium on new farm repossessions until December 2015, a 12-month commitment from the bank not to increase interest rates on distressed farms and interest rate relief in cases of extreme distress; financial assistance to support farmers choosing to relocate off the land and increased funding for rural counselling, focussed on towns hardest hit by drought.
Mr Katter said ANZ had shown the way in terms of compassion and just plain common sense.
“We know these farms will come right after the rains, and we’ve had rain this week, thank God; cattle prices will rise, the live export business is opening up again, and after a few seasons these farms will be back into the black.
“The graziers just need time, and that’s what we’re getting with this stance from ANZ.
“Now the other banks need to follow suit, especially the more aggressive ones, and we all know who they are.
“They’re about to be named and shamed if they don’t heed the call and come to the aid of these desperate graziers.”
Mr Katter said it grieved him that the measures had come too late for many graziers and he said he felt for them.
“I have been harassing the Queensland government about this for over 20 months now and my father has been doing the same with the Federal government.
“Now, thanks to Alan Jones and other media, we’re finally getting some traction.
“Hopefully no more farms lost, no more lives lost, and a permanent solution to the rural debt problem: the Australia Reconstruction Development Board,” Mr Katter said.