Equitable resolution for farm business debt matters

Queensland producers experiencing financial difficulty will be better protected from 1 July when mandatory farm business debt mediation comes into effect says Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne.

The Farm Business Debt Mediation Act prevents lenders from foreclosing on farming properties without first offering formal mediation.

“This initiative of the Palaszczuk Government’s Rural Assistance Package replaces a previous voluntary scheme,” the Minister said.

“Now, by requiring lenders and producers to enter into mediation, we’re protecting our producers and farm land by ensuring access to an efficient and equitable process which benefits both parties.

“Mediation will support resolution of complex disputes without resorting to expensive, drawn-out legal proceedings, and ensure no producers are treated unfairly when at their most vulnerable.”

The process will be conducted by an independent mediator agreed to by both parties. All are expected to participate in good faith, provide all relevant documentation and attend with a preparedness to consider all propositions put forward.

Mediators will be appointed and accredited by QRAA (soon to become the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority), working with the Queensland Law Society and Queensland Bar Association to source qualified and experienced legal practitioners.

“QRAA has consulted extensively with stakeholders and organisations on both sides of the fence – from Queensland Farmers Federation and AgForce to the Australian Banking Association and Legal Aid Queensland,” Minister Byrne said.

“They have also leveraged best practices from similar schemes in New South Wales and Victoria, and adapted them for Queensland’s unique rural sector.

“The result is a program in which all interests are represented equitably.”

Farmers have the option to refuse mediation and undertaking the process does not stop lenders or producers from using informal negotiations.

The program applies to disputes relating to business debts secured by a mortgage and includes debts on farming land, water assets, vehicles, machinery and other assets used in the farming business.

A register of mediators, program guidelines and relevant information will be available on the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority website from 1 July.

Farmers currently experiencing difficulties should speak to their bank or financial institution as early as possible and seek advice from their financial advisor or the Rural Financial Counselling Service.

More Articles

New Vegetation Management Laws

On 3 May 2018, the Queensland government delivered on one of its major election promises by passing the Vegetation Management and Other legislation Amendment Act 2018 (Qld) (“the Amendment Act”). The Amendment Act restricts the rights of farmers to...

Read More

Getting landholders back onto the land

AS RURAL land values improve and cattle and feed prices follow the lead, Queensland’s rural property scene is now the new hot topic.  Everyone seems to have an opinion, and wants in on it. From powerlines and highways, to solar farms and railwa...

Read More

Beef Week 2018

Emanate Legal out in force attending Beef Australia 2018 ...

Read More

Research and development investment underpins continued growth of Queensland’s agricultural sector

The Palaszczuk Government continues investments into research and development to underpin the record growth in Queensland’s $19.95 billion agriculture sector Acting Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Leeanne Enoch said the government invested over $...

Read More

Queensland’s agricultural sector closes in on $20 billion mark

Queensland’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry production has now almost reached the record level of $20 billion for the 16/17 financial year. Acting Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and Minister for Regional Economic Development Leeanne Enoch sa...

Read More

Underground coal gasification now prohibited in Queensland

A ban on underground coal gasification (UCG) in Queensland is now the letter of the law, following the successful passage of legislation in Parliament today. Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said while creating jobs for regional Queenslan...

Read More

Bill brings certainty to landholders, resources industry

New legislation introduced into Parliament today will provide landholders and resource companies with greater certainty when negotiating conduct and compensation agreements and make good agreements. Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham s...

Read More

Land dealings lead the way

A Townsville lawyer believes Adani has set the standard for how mining companies should deal with landholders when negotiating to acquire land needed for large-scale projects.Emanate Legal’s Barry Taylor has been dealing with Adani since 2010 and has act...

Read More