The Government’s long-awaited package for growers and farmers affected by recent weather events like Cyclone Gabrielle underwrites bank lending and offers cheaper finance options, but stops short of any bailouts. Banks will be supported to grant loans up to $10 million dollars over five years, with a guarantee of 80% by the government. And for those unable to get loans from their banks, the government itself will lend up to $4 million dollars, with interest deferred for the first ten years. Orchardists say they had been expecting more after a taskforce commissioned by the local industry had indicated they needed $750m to get back on their feet. The announcement offers no bailout, instead opting for loan guarantees and equity schemes. Yummy Fruit Company owner Paul Paynter labels the loan scheme a ‘bail out for the banks’.
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