THE Queensland Nationals are pushing for new laws to stop rural banks from penalising drought-affected farmers with interest rates, or foreclosing on their properties.
In a statement released this afternoon, Queensland Nationals Senator Barry O'Sullivan said he was canvassing support for a Private Senator's Bill that he said would help protect landowners from the predatory actions of banks.
Sen O'Sullivan said banks took a "sledgehammer approach" to rural debt. He said the Australian Bankers Association was warned "months ago" that he would be pushing for a change to the law.
"All the while more and more farmers have been driven to the wall," he said.
"The banks are living up to their reputation of being unreasonable bastards."
If a farmer breaks any other condition of their contract with the bank or lender, foreclosure would have to be delayed until the property has been out of the drought for 12 months.
"Landowners across Western Queensland are hand feeding cattle in this drought while they also fend off plagues of kangaroos and wild dogs," he said.
"Yet every time these farmers put their hands in their pockets, they find their bankers' fingers there.
"Some people across the bush are on their knees due to the worst drought in a century - and the banks continue to kick these people when they are already down."