AgForce is calling for a Victorian bank to be struck off amid allegations it is refusing to provide financial services to law-abiding Australian red meat and livestock businesses.
The malicious ‘secondary boycott’ is being rolled out under Bank Australia’s ‘Responsible Banking Policy’ which states the bank does not provide financial services to ‘organisations that use intensive animal farming systems…or organisations that export live animals.’
In a sinister twist, the policy is publicly supported by extreme animal rights activists Animals Australia – potentially breaching the provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
A Bank Australia spokesman justified the document saying many of their customers “don’t want their money being used to support practices that cause harm and distress to animals.”
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said he was disgusted by the comments.
He accused Bank Australia of telling lies to actively undermine national interest by jeopardising productivity, jobs and international relations – and called on the Reserve Bank to revoke Bank Australia’s licence.
“The Agricultural industry is full of small businesses that collectively form a supply chain Australia can be enormously proud of,” he said.
“Attempts to undermine this by organisations that have the privilege of an Australian Banking licence is disturbing and frightening.
“What is most galling about this case is the intimation that we are an industry that causes distress and harm to animals.
“We and our members are outraged and deeply offended by comments by Bank Australia that criminalise our industry.
“Producers in Australia and Queensland adhere to stringent animal welfare laws that protect livestock from harm and distress, and to suggest otherwise is a blatant misrepresentation of our industry and practices.
“Furthermore, millions have been spent on live exports overseas to ensure that all our animals are also treated humanely when they reach their destination.”
Mr Guerin said if Bank Australia’s relationship with Animals Australia was found to be in contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, the Reserve Bank must impose the highest possible penalty.
“Every Australian bank has a Federal Government guarantee in relation to its deposits,” he said.
“This guarantee and banking licence carries responsibilities.
“If a bank operates irresponsibly and seeks to undermine the national interest by de-funding legitimate and law-abiding industries and businesses it needs to be held to account.”