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National spotlight for local challenges in Longreach

29 September, 2015

Representatives from both sides of the Queensland Parliament, industry leaders and community members assembled in Longreach on the weekend to address the issues challenging the state’s rural heartland.

With more than 80 per cent of Queensland impacted by prevailing drought conditions, the Sunday Mail, in partnership with Suncorp Bank, led a panel discussion which acknowledged poor telecommunications, high electricity prices, a worsening wild dog problem and rural finance as the key concerns that need to be resolved.

The Bush Forum attracted more than 100 guests who heard from speakers including Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg, Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Brett Pointing and Suncorp Bank Executive General Manager Kevin Potter.

“As a Queensland business, we are fully aware of the impact of severe weather events and it is important for Government and the business community take a collaborative approach to ensure our farmers and communities in regional areas know they have the support of the state behind them,” Mr Potter said.

“The forum encouraged an insightful discussion, and identified the key areas that need to be improved to support farmers to run sustainable, profitable businesses.

“We understand the critical role a bank plays in supporting regional communities, and Suncorp Bank is committed to advocating for changes that support resilient communities. If our customers don’t succeed, we don’t succeed and we will continue to stand alongside our customers, to support them through the challenges.”

The morning discussion launched a weekend-long program of events, which attracted more then 2,000 visitors to the region to experience the quintessential outback experience and raise money for the Western Queensland Drought Appeal.

“The Drought Relief Concert, with Paul Kelly, Troy Cassar-Daly and Mick Lindsay on the steps of the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, combined with the 125th Anniversary celebrations of the Longreach Cup created the perfect backdrop for guests to gain an insight into the invaluable experiences gained from visiting a regional community,” Mr Potter said.

“Suncorp Bank has a long and proud history of supporting regional and rural communities, and today we remain as committed to these communities as we did more than 110 years ago.

“We were proud to continue our support of the Western Queensland Drought Committee, and be aligned with an initiative designed to put a national spotlight on issues affecting our farming communities.”

Media Contact: Ashleigh Paterson 07 3135 2562 or 0407 925 665

About Suncorp: Suncorp Group includes leading general insurance, banking, life insurance and superannuation brands in Australia and New Zealand. The Group has 14,500 employees and relationships with nine million customers. Suncorp Group Limited is a Top 20 ASX-listed company with $94 billion in assets. Suncorp Bank is Australia’s leading regional bank servicing more than one million personal, SME and agribusiness customers.

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