ANZ’s Head of Agribusiness, Mark Bennett, says the bank has made a point of reaching out to impacted customers to let them know what help is available. “Most of the response has been ‘thanks, we appreciate that and we probably will need help but right now we're just trying to assess the damage’”.
“It's really about making sure they know who to call when the time comes… The bank won't have all of the answers but we'll have some financial answers and we'll have some experiences that we can relay… whether that's around finance and commodities or whether it's just around mental health and wellbeing.”
For Brad and Rosie Howe, owners of Zig Zag Station 150km north-west of Townsville, many of the roads leading to their property have been washed away. “There are big gullies washed down the middle of the road,” says Rosie.
“There are a lot of people a lot worse off out west,” says Brad. “Some [people] would have carried big debts into that flood, let alone flood damage and recovery.”
“We can’t afford to lose these people – they’re the backbone of their industry and they need support right now.”
ANZ Agribusiness Manager for Townsville, Brad Pozzi, says it could be three to five years before some businesses are back to normal. “The support mechanism the bank provides is essential.”