AUSTRALIA - AgForce has welcomed more rigorous farm debt mediation processes and a revamp of the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority to assist farmers in financial stress but have called for a broader overhaul of drought policy going forward.
AgForce CEO Charles Burke said access to affordable finance was vital for the development of agriculture in Queensland, and it was preferable for debt problems to be avoided or prevented in the first instance.
“While we’d prefer to see disputes resolved fairly without the need for mediation, this strengthened farm debt mediation process will provide comfort to all those involved,” he said.
“Producers in mediation need to be able to afford it, have access to professional support and be given full information on their position from their lender.
“AgForce welcomes the fact that the Government and Opposition worked together to develop sensible amendments to further strengthen the mediation process and enhance the powers and responsibilities of QRAA, which will now become the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority.”
Mr Burke said the prolonged drought was taking an enormous financial, environmental and emotional toll on farming families right throughout Queensland, and mediation was just one element in addressing rural debt challenges.
“AgForce stands ready to work with politicians at all levels and on all sides of politics to ensure drought policy works to improve resilience and preparedness while also delivering effective assistance during extended, severe events like the one currently being experienced across Queensland,” he said.
TheCattleSite News Desk
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