Bankers show compassion

24 Apr, 2008 01:19 PM

AUSTRALIA'S banks have moved to reassure grain growers that access to finance will continue, despite uncertainty about future wheat marketing arrangements.

Australian Bankers Association (ABA) chief executive David Bell said banks were keen to tell grain growers that access to finance would not be impaired.

"Each request for finance will be considered on a case by case basis," Mr Bell said.

"While the wheat prices are expected to drop from their current levels, the outlook is they will remain relatively high despite the Australian dollar's strength.

"Rural property values have held up despite the drought as a result of the positive outlook for the demand for agricultural commodities," Mr Bell said.

As well as the marketing uncertainty, drought has also had an adverse affect on the grain sector with many farmers carrying considerable debt as a consequence of the prolonged dry.

"I urge any farmer who is concerned about their financial position to discuss the situation with their bank and other financial advisers," Mr Bell said.

Mr Bell said banks recognised that drought was a normal part of the farming business cycle and they were providing farmers with special financial considerations.

Mr Bell said the ABA had also provided a submission to the recent Senate inquiry on the new wheat marketing arrangements.

It highlighted counter party risk as an issue that would need to be addressed by growers and their financiers.

The ABA believes it should be the responsibility of Wheat Exports Australia (WEA) to only accredit grain marketing companies with appropriate financial capacity and risk management practices.


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