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Farmer loses appeal over $6.8M bid

A DIRRANBANDI cropping family which claimed they were misled over financing ahead of a $6.8million property auction bid has lost an appeal.

Jason Gobbert made an unconditional bid, on behalf of farming business Gobbert Bros, on October 17, 2014, during the auction of property Ballandool.

Mr Gobbert claimed Elders employee Paul Nelson, who was a Rural Bank agent, led him to believe his business would receive finance before making the offer.

But finance was later rejected, and the family's deposit of $680,000 was forfeited.

The Gobberts operate a farming business encompassing three properties: Byra, Davirton and Challenor Park.

The total size of the properties is about 83,000 acres, of which about 43,000 acres is used for growing crops including wheat, barley, sorghum, chickpeas and

oats.

The Ballandool property immediately adjoined their farm, Davirton.

Brisbane District Court heard at trial that Mr Nelson was at the auction when Mr Gobbert allegedly asked, "What do you think?” and he responded, "It will be a bit of a stretch.”

In a judgment handed down last month, Judge Nicole Kefford examined the meaning of a "bit of stretch” to determine if the term could be misleading.

"The Macquarie Dictionary sheds some light on the accepted colloquial meaning of the phrase "a bit of a stretch” under its definition of the word "stretch”: be a bit of a stretch, a. to require a maximum physical or mental effort. b. to be difficult to believe: his claim was a bit of a stretch,” she said.

Judge Kefford said, historically, each of the Gobberts' requests for finance from Rural Bank through Elders had been approved.

"Mr Gobbert was ... in a particularly positive frame of mind,” she said

"He was punting on good seasons after two years of drought.”

Judge Kefford said she accepted Mr Gobbert would not have attended the auction unless there was a prospect of finance being approved.

"However, it seems to me that Mr Gobbert was so keen on purchasing the property that he heard what he wanted to hear and would take anything other than a statement that finance would not be approved as a positive sign,” Judge Kefford said.

Judge Kefford dismissed the Gobbert brothers' claim, and said she would hear from parties on cost.

Topics:  appeal court


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