Businesses band together to help farmers

Some of Australia’s largest businesses are playing a part in drought relief, and our local branches in banking and retail have also taken up the cause.

The Commonwealth Bank has donated $1.75 million to the Australian Red Cross’s appeal to help families in severely drought-affected regions.

You can also make a difference by donating at your local branch, with the bank’s friendly staff more than happy to help you out.

“We are delighted Commonwealth Bank has generously contributed $1.75 million to our appeal, and I would like to congratulate them for acknowledging the growing need for support in communities affected by severe drought,” Red Cross CEO Judy Slatyer said.

Westpac have also been digging deep into their pockets – they announced at the start of August that they will be providing $100,000 to The Salvation Army Rural Support Services Program, and $100,000 in Community Resilience grants.

The Community Resilience grants are available to NFPs and community groups in drought-stricken areas, and will be directed towards projects that explicitly build community resilience.

The Westpac Group is encouraging not only its own employees to give what they can to help our farmers, but the public too. Westpac includes BankSA, where you can enquire at your local branch about how to lend a hand.

“We have a deep commitment to supporting farmers and rural and regional Australia, and our thoughts are with the many thousands of people that are battling one of the worst droughts on record,” Westpac National Manager of Agribusiness Stephen Hannan said.

Westpac has also announced a Drought Assistance Package for its Agribusiness customers.

The $100 million fund will provide carry on finance loans of up to $1 million to existing and eligible Westpac Group Agribusiness customers at a heavily discounted variable interest rate.

Westpac will also be giving drought-impacted customer an option to defer principal and interest repayments on existing business term loans and equipment finance for up to a year.

And, there will be offers of an interest adjustment for customers with Farm Management Deposit (FMD) to effectively offset FMD balances against their eligible business loans.

And Woolworths has continued its streak of community positive campaigns by donating $1.5 million to Rural Aid.

The supermarket giant will also be working over the next 12 months with Rural Aid to help double the charity’s existing capacity, through helping the organisation donate hay bales (via the Buy a Bale program) and food for families.

“This year we have received requests for assistance from over 700 farmers, with hundreds more desperately in need of our support, so we are truly grateful for the partnership and commitment from Woolworths,” CEO of Rural Aid Charles Adler said.

“The support of Woolworths will also help provide a boost to much needed mental health services to rural and regional communities via our counsellor program.

“Our farmers need face to face conversations, not over the phone or via SMS, so having additional counsellors will allow us to build trust and respect through personal on farm visits.”

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci has stated that supply and logistics, as well as individual stores, will be looking at various ways to support Rural Aid and farming communities through volunteering, donations, and fundraising.