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Helping a farmer through the drought

Greg Woodlock on his farm with his banker, Anna Thorpe


11 March 2019


Managing over 6,500 head of sheep near the drought-prone geographical centre of NSW, Greg Woodlock understands the ups and downs of running a farm. With Westpac’s help, he has expanded his business and secured the farm’s long-term viability.


Until earlier this year, Greg leased a part of the 16,500 acre property ‘Kaloola’ from a family who had held it for generations. “From the minute I walked on to the property, I knew I was home. When it came up for sale, straightaway I called Anna,” says Greg.


Anna Thorpe is Greg’s banker. She’s an Agri-business specialist in Westpac Business Bank’s ‘Connect Now’ team. Connect Now operates like a business banking hub, bringing together a range of business banking services, using technology to connect with customers like Greg remotely.


“The sale was complicated, but Anna had been my banker for over two years and knew my business and financial position inside-out. Without her, the sale would not have gone through.”


Water: nature’s liquid gold


Water security is a major consideration for any Australian farmer, especially in central NSW. For Greg, following the purchase of his new property, his focus was to secure water, and with the next allocation of water from the Burrendong Dam only weeks away, he needed to act quickly. Greg’s plans were to triple the size of the existing dam, but this meant commissioning major works and installing a new pump system.


“A few days before the water was set to be released I had reached my budget, but the job was not complete and I risked missing water for the next 18 months. That’s when I got back on the phone to Anna.”


Help when it’s needed


“When Greg called on the Wednesday afternoon I could hear the urgency in his voice. Without the funds the works couldn’t progress, and he’d miss the water allocation,” says Anna. “In the depths of drought, this would be devastating.”


Anna worked quickly to secure the necessary funds. “It was great to be able to call Greg back to let him know he could finish the dam, knowing he had the funds to back him.”


Following the news from Anna that the funding had come through, Greg and his contractors worked through the weekend to finish the dam.


“We collected a good volume of water. In this drought, the water underpins the growth of my flock and my business.”


“If it wasn’t for Anna and her dedication, I would be in a very different place, facing a different reality – that’s why I call the dam ‘Anna’s aquarium’.”