Stronger laws the priority to protect Victorian farmers
Wednesday 17 April 2019
The Andrews Labor Government is stalling on calls to fix farm trespass laws, despite Victorian farmers and farm businesses still being relentlessly targeted by extreme activists.
The Federal Liberal Nationals Government and the Queensland Government have both announced stronger penalties to stop activists targeting farms in the past week, but no similar move has been made in Victoria.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said stronger laws to protect people against law breaking activists who trespass and steal animals from farms should be a critical priority for the Victorian Government.
“Victorian farmers, farm businesses and people in our regional communities are absolutely furious at the constant break-ins, theft and harassment we’re seeing from law-breaking extremists, but so far the Premier and his Agriculture Minister have not acted,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Liberal Nationals have proposed a Parliamentary Inquiry to examine this whole issue and fix farm trespass laws. A parliamentary inquiry will give our farmers and industry stakeholders the chance to get through to government just how disruptive these lawbreakers are and help us identify the best way to bolster laws so that farmers can get on with business.
“It has been five weeks since I wrote to the Agriculture Minister and so far she has not responded to my letter, but has instead told media she would like to speak to us further about possible terms. I would welcome that conversation and am ready and waiting for the call, Minister.”
Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath, who has lodged the motion to establish the farm trespass inquiry in the Legislative Council, said thousands of people had already signed a petition calling for stronger penalties.
“Yarragon’s Gippy Goat Café was forced to close as a result of vicious harassment, threats and trespassing by extreme activists who willingly flout the law, only to receive a slap on the wrist,” Ms Bath said.
“Daniel Andrews can’t ignore this issue any longer, it’s time for action to bolster penalties and protect farmers in Gippsland and across Victoria.”
Visit www.parliament.vic.gov.au/council/petitions/electronic-petitions/view-e-petitions to add your support to the petition (No. 104 Shut down Aussie Farms website).