ASIC offers fee relief to drought-affected farmers

ASIC is offering assistance to drought-stricken farmers and related businesses suffering from financial hardship.

The corporate regulator will offer information about available financial counselling services and provide company fee relief to those affected by the drought.

ASIC commissioner John Price noted the severity of the current drought, recognising it is the cause of financial hardship for many people.

"ASIC is keen to offer whatever assistance we can to ease that burden and ensure that affected people can access resources to assist them during this challenging time," Price said.

In a statement, the corporate regulator said it may be able to review fees or waive late fees companies incurred, in addition to providing additional payment options for those facing financial hardship..

ASIC also said free financial counselling was available to farmers and related small businesses struggling with debt, through ASIC's MoneySmart website.

ASIC added anybody struggling with debt could also call the free National Debt Hotline on 1800 007 007.

Meanwhile, NAB will keep branches in drought-affected regions open, in a move which the bank's newly appointed chief customer officer of consumer banking Mike Baird said demonstrates NAB's commitment to supporting customer through difficult times.

"We know many of our customers in regional and rural areas are facing tough conditions as a result of the drought, and we want to be able to support them when they need it the most," Baird said.

"This is part of our commitment to do better, and to be better, by responding to the needs of our customers.

"We are always looking at how we can better support towns and communities right across the country, and so we are committing to keeping our regional and rural branches in drought-affected regions open while they remain in drought."

With this July registering as Australia's driest in 16 years, Australia's drought-hit farmers have turned to financial advisers to help deal with the impact to their finances.

According to Rockhampton financial planner Rory Condon, about half of his firm's 1500-strong client base are from farming families and most are beef cattle or sheep graziers.

"Many of them are struggling. The demand for restocking cattle goes down when there's a drought because there's no grass to feed to the cattle," Condon says.

Read more: ASICNABJohn PriceMike BairdRory CondonMoneySmartNational Debt HotlineRockhampton
Link to something weHSzS0Y