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9 March 2018: Mandatory farm debt mediation program passes 6 month mark

9 March 2018

After 6 months, Queensland’s Farm Business Debt Mediation scheme is already having a positive impact on farmers across the state.

It’s been just over six months since Queensland’s now mandatory Farm Business Debt Mediation came into effect, and the new scheme is already having a positive impact on farmers across the state.

For the period 1 July 2017 to 31 January 2018, a total of 33 cases were initiated, representing a broad cross section of farming industries and 18 local government areas.

The program is an initiative of the Palaszczuk Government’s Rural Assistance Package that replaces the previous mediation scheme in Queensland – which was only taken up on a voluntary basis.

Administered by the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA), the program aims to protect the interests of both primary producers and their lenders, by requiring them to undergo a formal, impartial mediation process to resolve disputes before foreclosure can take place.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said there are currently 42 accredited mediators on the program.

“Farm Business Debt Mediation provides an avenue that is often less stressful and more cost effective than arbitration or litigation,” Mr Furner said.

“We’ve been thrilled to see this go one step further, with many mediation matters being resolved by the parties even before formal mediation has taken place.”

Mr Furner said the new mandatory scheme has also captured a broader range of lenders with almost a third of the cases involving specialist equipment finance providers.

“The previous voluntary scheme captured only 11 signatory banks, leaving smaller, niche lenders like equipment finance providers to foreclose or be forced to write off debt,” he said.

“They are now captured in the scheme, preventing these farm debts from falling through the cracks and providing both parties with the same pathway to a fair and equitable resolution.”

QRIDA’s Manager of Farm Business Debt Mediation, John Simpson, says the reaction to the scheme has been positive, with both producers and mortgagees participating in the process in good faith.

“Parties on both sides have been co-operating extremely well with each other, and with the process established by the new legislation,” he said.

“Reaching that stage and undergoing mediation can be stressful, but it’s been great to see producers preparing well and engaging professional advisors, and to see banks genuinely wanting to help their customers and move past these disputes,” Mr Simpson said.

In January 2018, Farm Business Debt Mediation was joined by the Farm Debt Restructure Office which provides farmers in financial distress with a no-cost, no-obligation analysis of their operations and options.

Farmers currently experiencing financial 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.

For more information of the Farm Business Debt Mediation program, visit or Freecall 1800 623 946 and ask to be put through to the Farm Business Debt Mediation unit.

This media statement was issued by the Premier and Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisharies, the Honourable Mark Furner,

Further details on Farm Business Debt Mediation are available here

Last updated
14 March 2018