Farmers and bankers have sat down to discuss what to do about rural debt with the government mediating a two hour meeting in the capital.
Debt-laden farmers insist there’s a financial crisis engulfing the sector but the federal government isn’t so sure.
So it’s working on research to uncover just how bad debt is.
North Queensland cattle farmers claim about 25 per cent of farmers are either in debt mediation or poised to hand back their keys to the banks.
In response to their concerns, the government brought together afflicted farmers with banks and the peak farmer’s lobby group to a two-hour roundtable on Tuesday.
All parties agreed on working on new data to understand the level of the debt problem, and which regions are affected.
A nationally-consistent set of guidelines on debt mediation is also on the table as is a re-tweaking of rural debt facilities.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby was pleased with the results of the meeting but said solutions for a sector so heavily reliant on the vagaries of the climate would always be difficult.
“This is … a pretty good outcome,” he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.