Debt-laden farmers have taken their battle over the drought to the federal government – this time over banking issues.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce is bringing banks and debt-laden farmers to the table to work out a compromise on distressed loans.
North Queensland cattle farmers are demanding special consideration from banks who they say have been too inflexible in dealing with debt issues.
The Gulf Cattlemen’s Association blames the suspension of the live cattle trade and protracted drought conditions for the rural debt “crisis”.
It says about 25 per cent of farmers in the region are either engaged in debt mediation or in the process of handing their keys over to the banks.
Mr Joyce said the roundtable in Canberra on September 23 will be an opportunity to hear both sides of the story.
The minister said he has been getting mixed messages from both sides about the seriousness of the situation.
“Rather than hear two different stories, let’s get both and we’ll have a better idea of where the truth lies and try to work out a plan,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.