AgForce has lashed out at a “hypocritical and discriminatory” decision by ANZ to make emissions reductions targets a condition of loans to farmers.
AgForce CEO and former banker with ANZ Michael Guerin said there was no doubt that banks had a vital role in agriculture – but managing climate change wasn’t one of them.
“This completely hypocritical and counter-productive move exemplifies a sort of ‘creeping social activism’ we are seeing in the banking industry that is stifling growth and genuine practice improvement,” Mr Guerin said.
“Banks are the last people who should be lecturing the community about right and wrong.
“These sorts of stunts that single out certain industries to suit ‘activist agendas’ are an irresponsible handbrake on economic and jobs growth when they are most needed; they jeopardise agriculture’s prosperity and sustainability at a time when the industry will be critical to our post-COVID recovery.
“It is deeply worrying that some banks appear to be compromising sensible and appropriate commercial decisions because of intimidation by single-issue activists, in some cases their own senior staff.
“It is vital that banks do not base decisions that affect Australia’s food security and ability to bounce back post-COVID on the views of radical groups that do not in any way represent the opinions of the average Australian.
“If ANZ were serious about reducing carbon emissions – rather than engaging in a meaningless, underhanded stunt to try and divert public scrutiny from the banking sector’s failings – they would work with, not against, primary producers.
“Implementing genuine and effective farming practice change is expensive.
“If ANZ continues to turn its back on agriculture rather than work collaboratively with us we will be left with little choice but to respond in kind.
“The banks need loyal customers as much as farmers need finance.”
AgForce General President Georgie Somerset has written to ANZ Chairman Paul O’Sullivan and senior executives requesting a meeting to discuss the extraordinary decision. You can find a copy of the letter here.
Media contact: David Vogler 0418 733 102