Tough new laws to better protect farmers and farm businesses against people inciting farm trespass have passed the Federal Parliament.
The new laws, passed last week, will mean anyone sharing farmers’ private details online to incite farm trespass will risk jail time and follows the publishing of thousands of farmers’ home addresses on the Aussie Farms website.
Member for Murray Plains and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said the Federal Nationals had driven the changes to Commonwealth law, which will strengthen the consequences for incitement of trespass, property damage and theft on agricultural land.
“These strong new laws are a huge win for farmers, their families and regional communities not only in Victoria, but Australia-wide,” Mr Walsh said.
“It sends a clear message to law-breaking activists that publishing the personal information of farmers, including their home addresses, to incite trespass will not be tolerated.
“People acting illegally will now risk imprisonment of up to five years if they are found to have breached the privacy of farmers and their families.
“If you incite trespass and theft from farming families, you’re not an activist, you’re a criminal and deserve to feel the full consequences.”
Mr Walsh said The Nationals had also been working in the Victorian Parliament to strengthen state laws to better protect farmers.
A Victorian parliamentary inquiry is currently holding public hearings to gather evidence from farmers and industry on how the actions of animal activists are impacting their businesses and their livelihoods.
Mr Walsh encouraged anyone targeted by law-breaking activists to consider giving evidence to the committee at one of the remaining hearings.
“It’s critically important that the committee receives the evidence it needs to make strong recommendations for greater legal protection,” Mr Walsh said.
The committee will deliver a final report in November. Upcoming public hearings are scheduled for Warrnambool (September 17), Horsham (September 18) and Wangaratta (October, Date TBC).
For more information and to view the public submissions visit www.parliament.vic.gov.au/965-eic-lc/inquiry-into-the-impact-of-animal-rights-activism-on-victorian-agriculture