Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Farmers Struggle for Funds

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Farmers Struggle for Funds

Article excerpt


FARMERS struggling to obtain the grants and the low interest rate loan offered by the Federal Government is not news to National Farmers Federation president Jock Laurie.

The problem he faces is he needs case studies to put to the government in an attempt to have things changed.

Theodore and Mundubbera farmers told their stories about the lack of help from banks and how the criteria for the grants and loans is set too high, making it impossible for farmers to access.

Farmers in these two towns in Central Queensland, where water inundated farms and houses this summer, feel like they aren't getting help from anyone, including banks, the State Government and the Federal Government.

Third generation farmer, 50-year-old Alan CyBuck' Hewitt said he had no cash after six years of non-productivity.

The Theodore farmer, who raises cattle, said his farm had been impacted by two major floods in the past 14 months, with 1618ha (4000 acres) under water both times.

Many have got to the point where their own bank is unwilling to help, so they are shopping around, selling livestock and some have even put properties on the market because they have no other choice and the banks won't loan them carry-on funds.

Calliope Agforce representative Leo Neill-Ballantine said the Gladstone region farmers were quite lucky in terms of being affected by weather events, however he knew a farmer out west who sold his cattle when he ran out of water during the drought and went to get Centrelink payments, only to be told the cash he had put in the bank to buy back cattle when it rained meant he didn't need financial assistance.

Mr Neill-Ballantine, who is involved with the National Drought Policy review, said farmers found that, at every angle, they were up against legislation.

C[pounds sterling]As far as politics goes, we are still behind the eight ball,C[yen] he said. …

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