Farmers & farm creditors

Under Victorian law, creditors must offer farmers mediation before they can initiate legal proceedings regarding a farm debt in default.

Mediation offers a quick, low cost way of settling a dispute and avoiding litigation through the Courts. We can arrange for mediation to be held in regional locations around Victoria if a visit to the VSBC’s Melbourne offices isn’t an option.

What we do

The VSBC works with the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources on farm debt issues:

  • The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources provides information to farmers about the Farm Debt Mediation Scheme.
  • The VSBC provides independent mediation services when the farmer and the creditor agree to mediate.

The Farm Debt Mediation Act 2011 (the Act) seeks to resolve farm debt disputes quickly and fairly. It gives farmers the option to meet with their creditors before moves to take possession of the property — or other enforcement — under a farm mortgage.

The VSBC has a high success rate, resolving more than 90% of farm debt disputes through mediation.

The VSBC can arrange for mediation to be held in regional locations around Victoria if mediation at the VSBC’s Melbourne offices isn’t an option. The fee for mediation is $195 for each party for each mediation session.

How we help

Mediation can be initiated in two ways:

  • Creditor-initiated mediation. This is where a creditor issues a notice under section 8 of the Act informing the farmer of their right to mediation.
  • Farmer-initiated mediation. This is where a farmer takes the initiative to request mediation with their creditor.

Legislation

The Farm Debt Mediation Act 2011 seeks to resolve farm debt disputes efficiently and equitably by requiring a creditor to provide a farmer with the option to mediate before taking possession of property or other enforcement action under a farm mortgage.

Under the legislation, a creditor must provide a farmer with the option to mediate a debt default before the creditor takes possession of property or other enforcement action under a farm mortgage.  The farmer has 21 days to respond to the notice provided by the creditor.

Under the Act, the VSBC provides preliminary assistance to farmers and creditors who have agreed to mediate their disputes, and arranges mediation between the parties.

Information (including the legislation and mediation forms) on the Farm Debt Mediation Act 2011 can be found on the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources website. You can also speak to the Farm Debt Mediation Officer on 136 186.

 

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