Agriculture | January 21, 2021

Delays leave local farmers exposed to illegal trespass

Laws to impose on-the-spot fines to better protect Lowan farmers against farm trespass still haven’t been drafted, six months after the Andrews Labor Government finally agreed to the change.

A parliamentary inquiry recommended on-the-spot fines be implemented as a solution to stop extreme animal activists breaking into farms, stealing livestock and damaging biosecurity.

But more than six months since the Andrews Government agreed to the recommendation, farmers are still waiting for change.

Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said other states had already put similar laws in place so there was no excuse for Victoria’s delays.

“Farmers deserve to feel safe in their own homes, but the current soft rules embolden extreme activists to break the law instead of deterring them,” she said.

“Victorian farmers were hoping to see the Andrews Labor Government implement on-the-spot fines with the same urgency as New South Wales, but instead Daniel Andrews has kicked the can down the road.

“The NSW Liberal Nationals Government has taken action to better protect farmers and it’s time the Victorian Government stepped up and did the same.”

The farm trespass inquiry was established in May 2019 after The Nationals took farmers’ concerns about worsening illegal farm invasions to State Parliament.

Ms Kealy said the impact of farm trespass had taken a heavy emotional toll on local farming families.

“These farms are not just a business for the families who live on them, they’re home,” she said.

“The Andrews Labor Government either stands with our farmers or it stands with the extreme animal activists who want to destroy them.

“No more excuses – the new Agriculture Minister must ensure these reforms are drafted and ready when State Parliament returns in February.”

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