Farmers will receive more support and improved protection and financial security following the Marshall Liberal Government’s introduction of legislation to require mandatory farm debt mediation.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the legislation would mean creditors would need to go through a mandatory mediation process before they would be able to foreclose on a farming operation.
“Farming can be an unpredictable and challenging industry, leaving farming families and their assets vulnerable in times of financial crisis,” he said.
“A prosperous agriculture sector is vital to the state’s future with our food and wine sector generating $20 billion in revenue.”
Mr Whetstone said New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland already had successful mandatory farm debt mediation processes.
“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.
“The Marshall Government believes that South Australian farmers should be afforded the same protections are their counterparts on the eastern seaboard.”
The legislation will give farmers every opportunity to resolve financial problems and is supported by the state’s farming and banking sectors.
Mr Whetstone is encouraging the Labor opposition to support the Bill.
“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,” he said.
The former Labor administration used its numbers to block the passage of this Bill in the House of Assembly.
“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.”