The Marshall Liberal Government will introduce legislation to require mandatory farm debt mediation to support our farmers and provide them with improved protection and financial security.
The Farm Debt Mediation Bill 2018 will be introduced to State Parliament this week, within the Marshall Government’s first 100 days in office.
“This Bill will enforce a mandatory mediation process, administered by the Small Business Commissioner of South Australia, before a creditor is able to foreclose on a farming operation,” said Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone.
“Farming can be an unpredictable and challenging industry, leaving farming families and their assets vulnerable in times of financial crisis.
“A prosperous agriculture sector is vital to the State’s future with our food and wine sector generating $20 billion in revenue.
“However, under current rules, a South Australian farming operation can be forcibly foreclosed on without any form of negotiation – that leaves small family farm businesses vulnerable.
“Mandatory farm debt mediation operates successfully in New South Wales, Victoria and now Queensland.
“The Marshall Government believes that South Australian farmers should be afforded the same protections are their counterparts on the eastern seaboard.
“This legislation will ensure South Australia’s farmers are given every opportunity to resolve financial problems, giving them a fair opportunity to present and discuss their case with an independent mediator.
“Mandatory farm debt mediation is supported by both the farming and banking sectors in South Australia.
“We are delivering on a key election commitment to support South Australia’s farmers and this policy commitment is based on a Private Member’s Bill passed through the Legislative Council in the previous Parliament. Unfortunately, the former Labor
administration used its numbers to block the passage of this Bill in the House of Assembly despite overwhelming support from industry.
“I would encourage the Labor Opposition to support this Bill and not hang farmers out to dry.
“Further empowering the Small Business Commissioner is one more way the Marshall Liberal Government is strengthening business confidence as part of our plan to grow the economy and create more jobs.”