Mandatory mediation in place to help SA farmers

South Australian farmers will have greater financial protection and security to grow the state’s economy with legislation to require mandatory farm debt mediation now enshrined in law.

The Governor of South Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, proclaimed commencement of the Farm Debt Mediation Act 2018 today, signalling authority for the Small Business Commissioner to begin work on administrating the legislation from Monday 3 September for the benefit of South Australia’s farming community.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the new legislation brought South Australia in line with other states in efforts to support farmers.

“For South Australian farmers, this is a significant win with mandatory farm debt mediation now enshrined in law,” said Minister Whetstone.

“South Australian farmers can get on with what they do best in contributing to the state’s prosperity through farming in the knowledge they have a safety net with farm debt mediation now required by law before a creditor is able to foreclose on a farming operation.

“South Australia’s counterparts in the eastern states – New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland – already have Farm Debt Mediation legislation in place to provide piece of mind and the Liberal Marshall Government believed South Australian farmers, their family and assets deserved the same protection.

“A number of farmers across the state are currently experiencing some very dry conditions with minimal rainfall and this legislation provides some financial security as they work through a difficult season.”

South Australian Small Business Commissioner John Chapman welcomed the opportunity to provide greater assistance to farmers who may be facing difficult times.

“Dealing with debt is a difficult issue and hopefully through mediation we can make a positive difference for farmers,” said Mr Chapman.

“This scheme aims to level the playing field through mandatory alternative dispute resolution for farmers and their creditors, and seeks to develop better relationships and open the lines of communication.”

Information about mediation and how to access the service is now available online at the South Australian Small Business Commissioner’s website

mediarelease feature