A Short History

Around 2006 Simon McCann was advising his corporate and institutional clients in Australia to ready for a potential ‘economic depression’ or ‘double recession’. His professional background is in investment banking, corporate finance and capital markets in Europe and Australia. However, he originates from rural NSW, and realised that the possible financial impact on farmers’ financial position would be devastating.

So in 2006 Simon let friends and professional associates across central NSW know that if any farmer needed assistance to deal with banks or their lawyers, to contact him.

This was the seed of the first volunteer advocacy group acting solely for farmers to deal with farm debt issues.

The idea was that he would use his combination of banking, corporate law and farming background, and represent the farmer to ‘deal with’ their banks or the banks’ lawyers.

By 2008 the financial crisis was in full swing, and the farmers’ contact with Simon escalated heavily. He received assistance from 2 professional practicing lawyers based in rural areas, to manage cases.

The name “Peters Care” was formed around 2012, as the group needed to introduce its own legal structure and with compliance and governance.

In 2014 the ABC featured articles on Peters Care and its founder Simon McCann, which did raise the profile of the small volunteer network. However, the broadcasts were Australia wide, which opened the floodgates with farmers across Australia seeking assistance. Peters Care now covers all States and Territories of Australia.

Despite the relevance of Peters Care, it does not receive any government assistance, which has at all times made its continuation constantly difficult. Peters Care did have a sponsor for 2-3 months, however, they did pull out when confronted with the enormity of the issues Peters Care dealt with.

What We Do

We assist farmers and their families who are under severe financial distress, by negotiating with the farmers’ lenders to either have more time to deal with the debts, to re-negotiate the debts or to organise for a more organised and humane way ahead for the farmer, the families and the banks. It should be noted that a bank will normally go to great lengths to assist when asked, and advocacy or mediation is normally highly positive.

We take the view that financial distress is caused by a combination of financial debt obligations, payment and payment default issues, underpinned by mismatched farm cash flows from farming incomes. This is made worse by the impact of the global financial crisis, where banks or lenders are required to reduce their exposure (volume of loans) to ‘asset classes’ which include food production as an asset class i.e. farms. This essentially means that banks or lenders must reduce their loan portfolios by a certain percentage, rather than reduce their loans by a more subjective approach. It is in many circumstances neither the fault of the farmer or the bank, each is in a critical position.

Farmers are then moved into a position where, in the event that they cannot continue their current loan servicing, or repay the debt, are formally requested to either refinance their debt away, repay the entire or proportion of debt, or sell their farms to repay the debts.

We provide services to mediate or negotiate on the farmers’ behalf with banks and their lawyers, obtain more time to properly deal with the issue, through a sustainable plan, restructure of the debt, or arrange for a more timely arrangement which could include debt pay down over time, partial or full sale over time, or some other arrangement.

What We Do Not Do . . . . .

Unfortunately we can not engage in general refinancing activities for farmers not in distress. We have limited resource and time which must be devoted to farming families in true distress. Farmers requiring farm debt refinance assistance can be referred to very capable associates that undertake this activity.

Contacts

We do not have telephones to receive calls. When emailing us, a volunteer will telephone you back from their own mobile or landline.

 

EMERGENCY HELP: help@peterscare.org For emergency and immediate help.

OFFICE:  office@peterscare.org To contact the office.

MEDIATION: mediation@peterscare.org If you are already dealing with a farm debt matter, and do not have a direct contact.

COMPLIANCE: compliance@peterscare.org For any issues relating to governance or compliance.

EXECUTIVE OFFICER: executiveofficer@peterscare.org

Change is Needed

Assisting farmers and banks to deal with farm debt matters in crisis is critical, however, developing longer term strategies includes assisting farmers, lenders and governments to understand that farming within Australia has to be sustainable, and change is required at these three (3) levels.

This section will deal with the following topics that Peters Care is or will be involved in.

  • Legislative change to deal with how lending institutions can provide finance to farmers including greater level of care, extended default mechanisms, extended grace periods, provision for default emergency situations, etc.
  • Change within lending institutions themselves to deal with how banks and lending institutions provide finance to farmers including greater level of care, extended default mechanisms, extended grace periods, provision for default emergency situations, longer lending terms, etc;
  • Creation of Australian Agri Bank with the focus on providing normal and emergency funding to farmers and associated food production assets;
  • Sustainable Strategies to deal with Government grants, subsidies and related offerings, that would assist farming to become more sustainable within Australia;
  • Development of financing products offered by Australian Agri Bank (AAB), or Australian banks, which include longer term 50-70 year financing, loans with emergency and ‘on hold’ servicing, and other financial products. We have the experience and background to develop and manage financial products;
  • development and monitoring of sustainable food production including those previously advised on such as movement of some food production assets to Northern Australia;
  • Development of a nationwide Co-Operative that would assist farmers and those in the food production area deal with capital and resource assets more efficiently. Examples include cluster farming, sharing or pooling of capital assets such as equipment, and
  • Creation of an electronic trading bourse or exchange ( AAX )
  • Identification and recognition of farming and food production as national assets affecting national security, ensuring the protection and constant assessment of the ownership and management of farming.

We can discuss, inform, develop and manage these, and have the capability and background to introduce these changes now.

Media


Click the ABC logo above to listen to Geraldine Doogue’s ABC Interview with Simon McCann, Founder

 

Resources & Links

This section will have useful resources for you including contacts organisations for personal health, emergency financial situations and also resources to assistance in understanding finance, financial planning, use and planning of finance, types of finance, future trends in finance and the markets that shape finance, etc.

Sponsors and Helping Us

Peters Care continues to be unfunded, and the costs and time to operate this small network is met solely by the volunteers and Simon McCann.

We are not a registered charity, and do not take donations. We are in the process of being registered as a registered charity in Australia, at which stage we could accept donations for tax deductible purposes. At this stage any small sums provided by the public are treated as gifts or donations, and are used to assist to help with our costs. In the financial year 2015 we received over $600 in donations.

We are in desperate need of the following items to help us:

  • 4WD Diesel Vehicle
  • Diesel fuel
  • Office in Sydney and around Albury-Wagga region
  • Office items
  • Computers and IT
  • Landline and mobile telephones
  • Domestic flights (moderate requirement)
  • Seminar rooms, where we will be holding seminars and conferences with farmers, banks, government agencies, delegates, etc.
  • Accommodation in various areas across Australia

Current Sponsors

  • The McCann Family
  • The Howard Family
  • Shane Bailey