Eq­ui­table res­o­lu­tion for farms in debt

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE -

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

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,” Mr Byrne 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.”

The process will be con­ducted by an in­de­pen­dent me­di­a­tor agreed to by both par­ties.

Me­di­a­tors will be ap­pointed and ac­cred­ited by QRAA in con­junc­tion with the Queens­land Law So­ci­ety and Queens­land Bar As­so­ci­a­tion.

“QRAA has con­sulted ex­ten­sively with stake­hold­ers and or­gan­i­sa­tions on both sides of the fence,” Mr Byrne said.

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

Farm­ers cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­cul­ties should speak to their bank or fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion as early as pos­si­ble and seek ad­vice from their fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors.

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