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Although no one plans for it, poor seasonal conditions continue, personal circumstances change and business options may be limited, when this happens Farm Business Debt Mediation is here to protect you and your family.

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Important steps toward mediation 

The mediator, as a neutral and independent person, can assist the farmer and the mortgagee with the aim to bring about an agreement to prevent a mortgagee foreclosing on farm business debt without undergoing a formal, impartial mediation process that seeks an equitable resolution during stressful times. 

In the majority of matters a farmer will receive an Enforcement Action Notice from the mortgagee notifying the farmer of the mortgagee's intention to mediate. The farmer may request mediation to discuss the farm debt or alternatively elect to refuse mediation. 

The following steps outline the process and notices undertaken by you when the mortgagee initiates mediation.  

  • The mortgagee serves you with an Enforcement Action Notice along with a Mediation Information Package with a copy to QRIDA 
  • You should review this Notice and supporting information carefully and seek advice 
  • You then respond to the mortgagee within 20 business days by giving a Request for Mediation Notice S15 (PDF, 149KB) to the mortgagee that also includes their nomination of three mediators in preferred order and a request for copies of documents. Alternatively, you have the right to decline mediation.  
  • The mortgagee can accept the request for mediation by giving an Agreement or Refusal to Mediate Notice within 15 business days
  • You may also receive a Request for Documents Notice and needs to comply with that request within 30 business days
  • The parties should agree on a mediator who arranges for the completion of a Mediator Appointment Form 8 (not necessarily the form provided by QRIDA)
  • The mediator also reviews the overall matter and may suggest a pre-mediation conference 
  • The mediator facilitates a pre-mediation conference and finalises arrangements for mediation 
  • Mediation will be conducted on an agreed day, time and venue.  

If agreement is reached, a Heads of Agreement Form is prepared or supervised by the mediator and signed by both parties with a Summary of Mediation Form completed and signed by all parties and forwarded to QRIDA. 

Obligations 

  • Getting the right advice to ensure the farmer is well supported throughout the mediation process 
  • The farmer is entitled to more than one advisor
  • Be prepared and participate in mediation in good faith. Refer to the Good Faith Information Sheet

Alternative options  

More information

Visit Farm Business Debt Mediation for more information including frequently asked questions.

Mediation tips 

If you should need to undergo the Farm Business Debt Mediation, keeping the following things in mind will help you to prepare and improve your chances of the best possible outcome. 

Seek support as soon as possible: if you are facing financial difficulties, it’s important to seek support and advice early, to assess your options and potentially remove the need for mediation altogether. The Rural Financial Counselling Service is a great resource, but your accountant or solicitor can also assist. 

Choose to have an advisor present: Farmers are entitled to have one or more advisors present in mediation meetings, in addition to helping you prepare. Consider bringing a professional who you trust, who knows your business and situation and can help you understand the process if necessary. This could be your solicitor, accountant or a business consultant. The mediator will also ensure you are well supported. 

Familiarise yourself with relevant documentation: Take the time to get familiar with documents containing your financial position and other details that maybe relevant at mediation. This could include a current and realistic market valuation of your property, a list of plant and equipment, cashflow budgets, livestock or cropping programs and copies of the last three year’s taxation figures. 

Consider the other party: What do you know about them? What internal and external constraints are they operating under, and what options are likely to be acceptable to them? Understanding other perspectives will help you to prepare. 

Prepare for a range of outcomes: Farm Business Debt Mediation aims to find an equitable resolution for both farmer and mortgagee, so be prepared to compromise. A good way to prepare is to consider as many outcomes as possible, determine which are practical and could satisfy your needs, and develop arguments for each. 

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Have a question, need some help or would like more information? We're here to help you.