Fo­cus is on farm debt

Central and North Burnett Times - - THE FENCE POST -

THE Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment is set to in­tro­duce new leg­is­la­tion in order to es­tab­lish a farm debt me­di­a­tion process as a means of re­solv­ing fi­nan­cial dis­putes be­tween farm­ers and banks.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Leanne Don­ald­son said the Farm Debt Me­di­a­tion Bill 2016 would be an im­por­tant com­po­nent to re­duce fi­nan­cial stress and im­prove fi­nan­cial per­for­mance in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

“In the State Bud­get we an­nounced a $36 mil­lion Ru­ral As­sis­tance Pack­age to as­sist farm­ers whose in­comes and prof­itabil­ity have been se­verely im­pacted by drought,” Ms Don­ald­son said.

“A num­ber of mea­sures have al­ready been im­ple­mented, such as ex­emp­tion from stamp duty on the in­ter-fam­ily trans­fer of farms and grants for cli­mate risk and fi­nan­cial man­age­ment plan­ning.”

She said the leg­is­la­tion is needed to es­tab­lish a process that re­quires banks and farm­ers to re­solve fi­nan­cial dis­putes through an of­fi­cial and im­par­tial me­di­a­tor.

“Re­mov­ing the need for ex­pen­sive and drawn-out le­gal pro­cesses to re­solve fi­nan­cial dis­putes will be a huge ben­e­fit to farm­ers in debt,” Ms Don­ald­son said.

“The Ru­ral Debt and Drought Taskforce re­ported that nu­mer­ous is­sues were raised where farm­ers felt they had been un­fairly treated by banks.”

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