Lending to farmers next in the spotlight

KAP state leader Robbie Katter is calling for the Royal Commission to be ruthless in the next round of hearings when identifying dodgy conduct by banks when lending to farmers.

“Unconscionable lending practices by banks to farmers need to result in swift and decisive consequences,’’ Mr Katter said.

“The financial stress forced on to some farmers by banks is often difficult to believe.

“I have witnessed first-hand the experiences our farmers and primary producers have endured at the hands of dodgy lenders.

“I can tell you a number of Queensland’s farmers will be salivating at the prospect of highlighting what they have been forced to put up with for the past several years.’’

Round 3 of the Royal Commission hearings is scheduled to close on June 1. It is expected Round 4 of the commission will include a focus on lending to farmers.

“During 2015 and 2016 I chaired the Queensland Rural Debt and Drought Task Force,’’ Mr Katter said.

“I visited over a dozen regional towns in Queensland and received 123 written submissions from 119 primary producers.

“Many of these farmers were too scared to talk on the record to the Taskforce at the time because of confidentiality agreements they had signed with their lenders or fearing a backlash from their bank.

“However, the Royal Commission possesses statutory powers that will override these confidentiality agreements. As a result the general public will be made aware of some of the shocking, underhanded lending practices of financial institutions for the first time.’’

Mr Katter said one of first recommendations from the Queensland Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce in 2016 was for the Government to initiate a Royal Commission to investigate financial conduct within the finance sector.

“Unfortunately farmers have been forced to wait a lot longer than necessary,’’ he said.

“But they will see this as judgement day finally arriving.’’

To make a submission to the Financial Services Royal Commission go to: https://financialservices.royalcommission.gov.au/Public-submissions/Pages/default.aspx

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