Farmers in tears after banks take land

Farmers in tears after banks take land


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A Senate inquiry into the plight of struggling farmers and their dealings with the banking sector will be tabled in parliament. Photo: AAP

A Senate inquiry into the plight of struggling farmers and their dealings with the banking sector will be tabled in parliament. Photo: AAP

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When the knock on the door is from the receivers ...

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At the mercy of the elements Lindsay Dingle thought the life of a farmer was hard enough.

Then there was a knock on the door that has brought him 40 months of turmoil.

Mr Dingle had a cattle, cropping and fodder property outside of Bundaberg in Queensland for 13 years.

In 2011 and 2013 the property was hit with floods, and then a big dry.

He owed the bank $600,000 and receivers rocked up without warning.

"They come in the door nine o'clock one morning and say you've got two minutes to get your medication and get off," Mr Dingle told AAP on Wednesday.

"The people in the system, they almost get off on it... they're just ruthless."

Mr Dingle's voice trembles as he describes how he was made to feel like a criminal during the ordeal because he had a gun licence.

A police presence had been organised on the assumption he would become dangerous.

"I'm not ordinarily a sook," he said, wiping away tears.

The worst was to come, the property was sold off in a rush, in 10 weeks during a drought declared period over the Christmas holidays.

The property, valued at $1.3 million, was sold for $590,000 - seven times less the value of a similar property further upstream.

Mr Dingle recounted how during the eviction the receivers had tipped the contents of the family's freezer on the lawn and left it to rot.

Farm equipment was looted over subsequent weeks and the police declined to investigate.

"I was threatened with trespass if I went back to the property.”

Mr Dingle, was one of the scores of farmers who gave evidence to a special Senate inquiry about the indignity experienced by some debt-laden primary producers in their dealings with the banking sector.

One Nation pushed to establish the hearings in lieu of a royal commission, and the inquiry's report is due to be tabled in parliament later on Wednesday.

Mr Dingle, whose children paid for him to come to Canberra, hopes one of the recommendations will be appointing independent mediators who can bring some level of empathy to the process.

One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson wants the royal commission into financial sector misconduct to consider the report's findings and show some compassion to farming families.

"Lives have been lost, families destroyed," she told reporters.

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