Drought relief for WA Farmers
16 November 2010
Bankwest today extended its support for Western Australian farmers struggling through the worst drought in living memory with an unprecedented "Drought Assistance Initiative" that includes a commitment to fund the 2011 cropping program for all Bankwest farming clients who are working to address cashflow problems.
Bankwest's Head of Rural and Regional Banking Jamie Ritchie said he was alarmed at a 20 per cent spike in farm sale listings as more and more WA farmers look to leave the land.
"While the rest of Australia has experienced good seasonal conditions, more and more WA farmers are watching the farms they spent their lives building up struggle on the back of consecutive poor growing conditions," Mr Ritchie said.
"That's why we are introducing our "Drought Assistance Initiative" so farmers can rest easy on their 2011 cropping program.
"We need to stand by our farmers, which is why we are committing to support every WA customer who actively works with us to identify medium term solutions to cash flow issues caused by the drought. We will not be foreclosing on any of these customers. Not many banks can make that commitment, and I am very proud Bankwest can."
Mr Ritchie said vast swathes of the central and eastern WA Wheatbelt are facing the driest season on record, and this will have a significant impact on crop yields and pastures.
To further help WA farmers, Bankwest will prioritise all 2011 cropping program finance approvals to ease them through a highly uncertain and difficult period.
"This means WA farmers can stop worrying about financing the 2011 cropping program and instead focus on running their farms," Mr Ritchie said.
"This also eases pressure and uncertainty through the Christmas and New Year period, when farmers should be celebrating and spending time with their families, not losing sleep worrying if their bank will stand by them.
"Bankwest has a deep understanding of the season variability and is committed to working with, and supporting, our clients through this extremely difficult period."