Banks told to go easy on flood-affected truckies

MP takes on banks for approach to flood-affected trucking operators, criticising them for hefty penalty rates for non-payments

Banks told to go easy on flood-affected truckies
Banks told to go easy on flood-affected truckies

By Brad Gardner | February 9, 2012

Banks are in the firing line over their approach to flood-affected trucking operators in Queensland, with one MP criticising them for imposing hefty penalties on missed loan repayments.

With floods crippling parts of the state’s south-west and forcing residents to evacuate their homes, federal Maranoa MP Bruce Scott has called for some understanding from banks.

He says three floods in three years have devastated his hometown of Roma, while load limits on flood-hit roads in the region are affecting trucking operators.

"Last year the trucking industry had 68 days on which they could not operate because of floods. The previous year they had 70 days on which they could not operate. They do not know how long it will be this year, because of load limits on those roads," Scott says.

"The banks have to play their part. They are charging 15 percent penalty rate for non-payment of payments which are due."

The town of St George was evacuated this week due to rising floodwaters, while residents in Mitchell and Roma have started cleaning up after floods inundated homes and businesses.

Towns in northern NSW have also been cut off due to floods. The NSW State Emergency Service expects the small community of Goodooga to be isolated for up to eight weeks when floodwaters from Queensland flow downstream.

"My hometown of Roma has been hit three years in a row. There are small businesses and people who have been there all their lives wondering whether it is time to go. They are on an emotional tight wire at the moment in many of these communities," Scott says.

He says funding needs to be brought forward to replace the flood-prone Maranoa River Bridge at Mitchell on the Warrego Highway.

It reopened on February 8 under strict load and width restrictions. Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace says the bridge sustained structural damage during the floods.

A five tonne load limit is currently in place, but the Department of Transport and Main Roads has the power to grant permits for essential supplies up to 42.5 tonnes.

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