Rabobank announces support measures for farmers affected by North Queensland floods and rain damage

Agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank has announced support measures for farming clients affected by floods and damaging rainfall events in North Queensland in recent days.

Rabobank deputy regional manager for North Queensland Chris Adams said while the extreme monsoonal rainfall had been largely welcomed by agricultural producers – following a lengthy period of drought for many – the situation was now beginning to turn, particularly in the north west where there is concern about the wellbeing of graziers, the welfare of livestock and damage to some crops.

“Unlike the catastrophic impact these rains have had on residential areas in Townsville, the rainfall overall has had enormous benefit for agriculture in the region, soaking parched paddocks and filling dams,” Mr Adams said. “However some agricultural areas are now struggling under the sheer volume of water – in some cases receiving their average yearly rainfall in just a matter of days – while there is also concern about the impact of the icy gales that have come with the monsoon low.

“Areas, including around Julia Creek and Cloncurry, Richmond, Winton and the Gulf Country, have received a staggering amount of rain as well being battered by intense cold winds, and there are cattle losses because of exposure as well as the inability of stock to access fodder. In certain instances too, graziers are having to evacuate their properties.

“Some sugar cane crops have been flattened by the rain and winds and while a lot should be able to bounce back, this will depend on how long it remains wet. Bananas and other horticultural crops look to be okay at the moment, however the challenge for these and all agricultural produce will be access to market, with a lot of roads blocked by flooding.”

Mr Adams said Rabobank’s staff in the region had been contacting clients to check on their safety and the wellbeing of their operations and to provide assistance where needed.

He said the bank would work directly with individual clients to help support them through immediate difficulties with Rabobank providing a range of assistance measures to those in applicable circumstances.

These included:

· deferral of scheduled loan repayments

· waiving of break costs on early redemption of Farm Management Deposits

· waiving of fees on loan increases necessary to assist in rebuilding operations and

· waiving of fees for equipment finance contract variations.

Rabobank has urged any impacted clients who had not yet spoken to the bank to contact their local branch or phone the bank on 1800

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