Thursday 5 July 2018
Farmers grappling with the theft of thousands of dollars’ worth of livestock and farm machinery have voiced their frustration at being abandoned by the Andrews Labor Government.
During a visit to Jarklin today Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh and The Nationals Candidate for Bendigo East Gaelle Broad met with affected farmers and police to discuss rising rural crime.
Mr Walsh said there was a strong feeling in the farming community that not enough was being done to combat rural crime.
“The Nationals are acutely aware of the significant toll livestock and other on-farm theft takes on our farmers ‘“ both emotionally and financially” Mr Walsh said.
“Our farmers should be enjoying the strong prices we’re currently seeing for livestock ‘“ not worrying they’ll be the target of criminals.
“The city-centric Andrews Labor Government must look beyond Melbourne’s tram tracks and take action to help our farmers by combatting rising rural crime.
“The Nationals will keep speaking to our communities in the lead up to the State Election about ways to reduce the risk of on-farm theft.”
Livestock theft in Victoria rose nearly 40 per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year ‘“ the highest jump since 2012 according to the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency.
The value of livestock stolen in Victoria is estimated to exceed $1 million.
Ms Broad said at a time of high prices for livestock on-farm crime was becoming more of a concern.
“Agriculture is a major economic driver for the Bendigo region so the current strong prices for livestock are a good sign for our local economy” Ms Broad said.
“It’s concerning though that farmers who have raised concerns at the increased risk of rural crime and the need for action have been ignored.
“This is a serious issue that affects farmers in the Bendigo region and The Nationals are meeting with our community to better understand the issue to deliver a better deal for Bendigo East.”