On National Agriculture Day the Australian Banking Association (ABA) recognises the contribution of agriculture to the Australian economy, its remarkable resilience in the face of recent flood events, and the broader health and outlook for the sector.
Speaking ahead of the Day, ABA Chief Executive Anna Bligh said, “Agriculture in Australia has a proud record of overcoming extreme adversity, most recently meeting the challenge of major flood events head on. Banks are standing by to support customers affected and the message is to reach out to your bank if you need their support.”
“Beyond the current challenges the picture for the Australian agribusiness sector, supported by Australian banks, looks healthy and the industry outlook is positive.”
“As we enter a new era of economic challenges, banks will continue to collaborate with the agribusiness sector.”
ABA CEO Anna Bligh
“Bank lending to Australian agribusiness has increased by almost a third during the past year to $104.7 billion* as of September this year. The sector is buoyed by strong global commodity prices, however, the incredible resilience of those in rural and regional areas has contributed to the sector bouncing back from the drought years.”
Australian agriculture, and the vibrant agribusiness sector it supports, pushed through COVID-19 relatively unscathed and the sector remains well positioned to contribute to growth in the economy.
“Macroeconomic conditions across the agribusiness sector are very positive, and as the farming sector recovers from recent years of drought, and experiences favourable seasonal conditions in parts of Australia not affected by floods, the industry is expected to continue its growth with strong prices across a range of agricultural commodities,” Ms Bligh said.
“Despite coming off all-time highs, the value of Australian crop exports remained significantly above the long-term average in September 2022. This is an indication of the continued demand for goods produced by Australian farmers,” she said.
Australian banks are deeply invested in the success of Australian agribusinesses and in regional communities more broadly. Banks are working to help communities impacted by recent natural disasters. This week, the ABA visited flood impacted communities to learn more directly from customers affected by floods.
Measures to help customers impacted by natural disasters include:
- Deferring scheduled loan repayments, on home, personal and some business loans for up to 3 months;
- Waiving of fees and charges, including for early access to term deposits;
- Debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable;
- Restructuring existing loans free of the usual establishment fees;
- Offering additional finance to help cover cash flow shortages;
- Deferring upcoming credit card payments;
- Emergency credit limits.
“As we enter a new era of economic challenges, banks will continue to collaborate with the agribusiness sector, governments and industry stakeholders to ensure product and service offerings support the needs of Australian agriculture long into the future,” Ms Bligh said.
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