Focus is on farm debt

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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