Know your rights – The Farm Business Debt Mediation Act (2017) QLD
Laws passed by the Queensland parliament protects farmers against banks taking immediate enforcement action against a farmer who is in default on their farm mortgage. The Farm Business Debt Meditation Act 2017 (Qld) (Act) makes it a requirement that banks must offer farmers the option to participate in meditation to resolve issues arising from their farm mortgage prior to any enforcement action being taken.
This Act does not prevent farmers and banks resolving debt issues informally, however, it provides a formal set of framework that allows farmers, via an approved mediator, to negotiate a longer term sustainable position before the bank takes action to foreclose on farmers. Banks must issue an “enforcement action notice” that allows the farmer 15 business days to make a request for a mediation before any other action is taken.
If the farmer, who is not in default of their farm mortgage, requests a mediation in response to the notice and the bank refuses the mediation request then there are no consequences for either party under the Act. If the farmer is in default of their farm mortgage and requests mediation in response to the notice and the bank refuses the request then the farmer has rights to apply for a suspension certificate. The bank will then be required to provide reasons as to why they refused to mediate. The intention of this Act is to assist farmers bringing banks to the table to mediate and prevent banks from taking immediate action against farmers.
To be eligible for mediation under this Act farmers need to meet certain eligibility requirements including that they are running a farming business on the land or in connection with a water allocation which generally speaking involves cultivating the soil, crops, livestock. We encourage anyone who is unsure of what their obligations or rights are under the Farm Debt Mediation Act to contact Dan Creevey on 07 4617 8777 to obtain further advice tailored to your individual circumstances.
About Creevey Russell Lawyers
Creevey Russell Lawyers is a full service law firm which operates primarily from our Brisbane practice, with the capacity to provide superior legal services to western Queensland through our Toowoomba and Roma practices. Creevey Russell Lawyers deliver results to a variety of clients including developers, corporations, accountants, liquidators and private clientele