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‘They’re ignorant to the sector and it’s getting worse’: Senator slams banks’ treatment of farmers

Nationals Senator Barry O’Sullivan has slammed the banking industry as “ignorant” to the needs of farmers, saying conditions within loan agreements set up hard-working Australians in the bush for failure.

The banking royal commission has been probing into farming finance, unveiling dodgy advice given to vulnerable Aussies on the land.

Senator O’Sullivan tells Ross Greenwood if banks want to win back the trust of the nation, they’re going to have to “start making good right now”.

“They’re just absolutely ignorant most of these people.

“The banks have failed at just about every post and now’s the time, they need to step forward right now… they need to make good.”

The Nationals Senator says banks removing branches from rural areas “faster than you can blink” is making the sector’s ignorance to the agricultural industry even worse.

“I think there’s been a duty of care that the banks have failed to help them manage the circumstances.

“Instead of giving them advice that would help them to become more resilient about what’s obviously coming their way over the next 12, 24, 36 months, they’ve gone ahead and loaned them more money. Put them deeper into their problem.”

Mr O’Sullivan is backing an extension of the royal commission should Commission Kenneth Hayne suggest it.

“I think we need to leave the Commissioner to get on with his job. And if he needs more time and more resources, he strikes me as a fellow who won’t be frightened to say so.”

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