The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has welcomed the passing of the Queensland Government’s Farm Business Debt Mediation Bill that legislates farm debt mediation in Queensland.
QFF also welcomed the passing of amendments to the Biosecurity Act that QFF and industry members have been calling for, which were included in the Bill.
Farm Business Debt Mediation Bill
QFF President Stuart Armitage welcomed the Queensland Government’s decision to fund and resource a mediation process.
It will replace the voluntary system that QFF managed pro bono on behalf of industry.
“This Bill provides clear responsibility and an expectation that Queensland Government will deliver better outcomes for the rural sector in managing rural debt mediation.” said Mr Armitage
“While in an ideal world farm debt mediation would not be required, it is positive to know there is now a mandatory framework in place to assist if conventional processes break down.
“QFF commend both the Queensland Government and Queensland Opposition for working together to develop and strengthen the mediation process and enhance the powers and responsibilities.
“As the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) is established, the Queensland Government must ensure QRIDA can adequately manage the conflict of interest that it will have administering mandatory mediation while also a being a lender.
“The Government must also do whatever it can to ensure Queensland can seamlessly transition to a nationally consistent approach to farm debt mediation, which is likely in the future.”
Amendments to biosecurity accreditation provisions will now extend to an acceptance of industry systems.
Known as ‘biosecurity accreditation schemes’, they will open the way for approved businesses to grow, certify and dispatch product with minimal government intervention.
The schemes are specifically designed to enable industry to obtain certification to facilitate access to interstate markets.
It is expected that industry-led accreditation programs, such as Nursery & Garden Industry Queensland’s BioSecure HACCP will be at the forefront of these new accredited schemes.
These systems-based approaches are now being considered by biosecurity authorities in all Australian jurisdictions.
QFF President Stuart Armitage thanked the Parliament for passing these sensible amendments that will empower industry and strengthen the state’s biosecurity credentials.