Labor fails to support South Australian Farmers

Member for Hammond, Adrian Pederick today brought the Farm Debt Mediation Bill to vote in Parliament and due to the lack of support from the Labor Government, including the Minister Agriculture, the bill was not passed.

“The lack of support from the Weatherill Labor Government and Minister Bignell is disappointing to say the least,” said Mr Pederick.

“This bill was intended to provide farmers with financial relief when they needed it most.

“If passed, this legislation would have implemented a legally enforceable bank mediation system for primary producers.

“The mediation structure would have included a neutral and independent person as the mediator, who would assist the farmer and creditor in reaching a satisfactory agreement relevant to present arrangements of future conduct and financial relations between the two parties.

“This legislation would have been a first for South Australia as there is no legally enforceable bank mediation structure for primary producers.

“South Australia’s structure is not working, with the reason being the fact that the current arrangement is voluntary and there is no legal obligation for the creditor or bank to take-part in a mediation process with the farmer.

“Other states throughout Australia have farm debt mediation legislation in place, both New South Wales and Victoria have implemented this structure.

“Along with the mediation mechanism, the Farm Debt Mediation Bill could have been used as a preventative measure, as it had structures for early recognition and resolution of financial difficulties.

“This legislation contributes to the prosperity and financial stability of South Australian farmers and the State Labor Government and Minister Bignell have clearly shown just how much they don’t support our primary producers,” said Mr Pederick.