The banks have been in the news for the last couple of weeks, with tales of their woeful treatment of customers dominating headlines.
Despite promises from the banks’ that they’re “going to change”, we could be headed for more of the same in about six months time, after devastating monsoonal rains tore through far north Queensland.
Many farming families have been left with absolutely nothing – their farms completely obliterated. And banks will need to come to the party and suspend mortgages over the months and years ahead, so they have an opportunity to get back on their feet.
Grazier Rachael Anderson, who lost around 2000 cattle in the massive weather event, said the loss of so many animals would affect her station’s ability to survive.
“We (won’t be able to) get loans because we’ve got nothing to borrow against. None of us have got anything left,” she told reporters.
“I can provide for my family right now. But in six months time or when the bank comes for their repayment, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Her heartbreaking story isn’t an isolated one, as there are dozens upon dozens of farms that have lost everything in these floods. It’s estimated that more than 100,000 cattle have perished. These are unfathomable numbers.
Insurers have already received over 13,000 claims, with losses sitting at around $165 million, but there will still be plenty of farms that slip through the cracks. This is when we’ll need to apply the most pressure to our banks, to ensure they do the right thing by our farmers, and forgive (or at least suspend/re-work) debts when it counts.
Right now, our Queensland farmers need our support more than ever, and showing your support is as simple as “buying Australian products,” grazier Jacqueline Curley wrote in a heart-wrenching Facebook post, which has been shared more than 16,000 times and liked over 33,000 times.
“Our state and federal governments can do much to help by providing financial funding and disaster assistance packages to help our communities recover and rebuild. The banks can assist by suspending interest repayments on existing mortgages, amongst other things whilst our livestock herds rebuild.
“And you can help us by using your consumer power and insisting on buying local produce, then we can continue to provide your families with our top quality, home grown, nourishing Australian beef.”