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Farm Debt Mediation in Victoria

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - Posted by Michael McCulloch

On 1 December 2011 the Victorian Government started the Farm Debt Mediation Scheme. In Victoria it is now compulsory to offer mediation to farmers before initiating recovery proceedings on farm mortgages.

To those familiar with the NSW Farm mediation, it is very similar. In Victoria, a farmer has 21 days to respond to an offer to mediate, otherwise a creditor can commence action as they normally would.

The mediation is a structured negotiation process with the mediator being neutral and independent. The mediators role is to facilitate discussion, not provide advice. The scheme is administered by the Department of Primary Industries, and applies 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 process.

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