A film highlighting the plight of families affected by the likes of what was heard in the Royal Commission has been submitted to the Sydney Short Film Festival.
Titled ‘Four Generations for Nothing’, it focuses on an Australian family who fights the bank after being told they must vacate the land that has been in their family for four generations.
The seven-minute film is based on the misconduct heard about in the royal commission over lending to rural borrowers and the treatment of struggling farmers.
Created by president of Prosperity House, and author, Shane Reynolds, it addresses the emotional and psychological pressures that families in rural Australia face and is intended to create awareness and promote the commission.
Prosperity House is a not-for profit organisation, which raises funds to improve human rights and increase financial literacy.
The group has been heavily involved in making submissions to the Royal Commission and said the hearings on lending in rural areas showed a real need for financial literacy among farming communities.
It has now suggested that any fines or penalties handed to the banks for misconduct should go directly into that cause. Viewers of their film are also asked to make a donation.
Speaking to Australian Broker, Reynolds said, “We don’t want to put a band aid over a bullet hole.
“This is the harsh reality; we have got something like 92 farmers a year committing suicide. Only 26 people were allowed to give their story and some of those people were from rural Australia and they have spoken about significant problems with mental health and suicide.
“It’s very hard for a farmer to get help in their own town where there’s limited services. They’re keeping it to themselves.”
Reynolds, who published a book last year aimed at mortgage brokers, commended the Royal Commission’s work for digging into misconduct by the bank.
He added, “I think the associations have been very quick to shoot the hoop and attack the commission and say it’s wrong, but have you consulted the industry?
“Rowena Orr did a fantastic job. I think they should be commended and no one’s commended them for what they have done.”
Four Generations for Nothing was produced by production company Human by Design Rebecca Caruana and Sanet Lindeque Gerber. It was written by Shane Reynolds alongside singer/songwriter Rocco Bene, as well as legal counsel & support Jason Murakami, (Adjunct Professor of Law) who all donated their time to the Prosperity House saveourfarmers.org.au appeal.
A website dedicated to the film has been set up with harrowing facts about the impact such treatment has on farmers and their families.
The figures show that 92 farmers a year are committing suicide, amounting to one suicide every 4 days.