Farm debt mediation
The Farm Debt Mediation Scheme makes it compulsory for banks and other creditors to offer mediation to farmers before commencing debt recovery proceedings on farm mortgages.
A farmer has 21 days to respond to an offer to mediate, otherwise the creditor can commence action as normal.
Farm debt mediation is a structured negotiation process where a neutral and independent mediator assists the farmer and the creditor to try to reach agreement about current and future debt arrangements. The mediator's role is to facilitate the discussion and they will not provide advice on the matters in dispute. Mediation is a simple, voluntary and confidential process that is quick, accessible and affordable.
The scheme is administered by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and further information can be sought from the Farm Debt Mediation Officer on 136 186. Mediations will be provided through the Victorian Small Business Commissioner.
This scheme applies only to:
- farm mortgages covering a farm (or part of a farm), farm machinery or a water share (within the meaning of the Water Act 1989).
- farmers, defined as: 'a person (whether an individual person or a corporation) who is solely or principally engaged in a farming operation'. This includes people who own land cultivated under a share-farming agreement, or the personal representatives of a deceased farmer.
Guarantors to a farm mortgage need to be fully informed and involved in the processes.
It is recommended that farmers seek assistance from their local Rural Financial Counsellor, Solicitor, Accountant or some other appropriately qualified person. These people can assist farmers to prepare for mediation, attend the mediation session with farmers, and help with any actions that need to be undertaken after the mediation session.
The Victorian Government commenced the Farm Debt Mediation scheme on 1 December 2011.
Farm Debt Mediation Act 2011
- Farm debt mediation process
- Mediation information
- Information for farmers
- Information for creditors
- Forms for mediation
Call DEPI on 136 186 and ask for the Farm Debt Mediation Officer.
Fax: (03) 9098 5880
All requests for mediation need to be sent to:
Farm Debt Mediation Officer
PO Box 500
Level 14, 8 Nicholson Street
East Melbourne, Victoria, 3002