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Diocese’s accounts frozen

18 October 2013

THE rural diocese of Bathurst, in New South Wales, has had some of its bank accounts frozen as it struggles with a $AU36-million debt.

For several years, the diocese has been trying to overcome significant debt problems, but attempts to sell assets and merge some operations with other NSW dioceses in recent years have not been successful.

The Bishop, the Rt Revd Ian Palmer, told parishioners in a letter distributed last weekend that discussions with the Commonwealth Bank were continuing in the wake of the sale of two church schools earlier this week. The schools - Macquarie Anglican Grammar School, in Dubbo, and the Orange Anglican Grammar School - have been bought by the Sydney Anglican Schools Corporation. The sale will not clear the debt.

Bishop Palmer said in his letter: "[The debt] is large, and we cannot repay the bank in full." The frozen accounts were not affecting parishes, he said, but "things like being able to use a credit card".

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