Animal activists who conduct protests unfairly targeting Queensland producers could face longer jail terms and bigger fines for creating a biosecurity risk under legislation introduced into State Parliament last week.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the Agriculture and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 was introduced on Thursday to stop animal activists jeopardising the rights and livelihoods of law-abiding farmers.
“Protesters could now face up to one year in jail for trespassing on farm land or be fined more than $60,000,” Mr Furner said.
“The Bill provides more effective protection for our hard-working agricultural industries following recent animal activist protests in south-eastern Queensland.
“Some protests by animal activists over the last 12 months have involved people invading farms and businesses and putting unfair pressure on law-abiding farm owners, managers and staff.
“Our farmers have a right to feel safe and protected from risks posed to themselves, their property and their livelihoods.
“Our community needs to be confident that human safety, animal welfare, biosecurity and food safety are not being compromised.”
Mr Furner said while the Palaszczuk Government supported the rights of individuals to protest lawfully in Queensland, those who unlawfully enter farming land with such disregard for the consequences would be met with a strong response.
“The Bill includes a package of amendments to the Summary Offences Act 2005, the Biosecurity Act 2014 and the Exhibited Animals Act 2015 to address unacceptable behaviour that poses risks to agricultural and related industries.
“This includes penalties for those unlawfully entering a food production facility, a feed lot and a live export facility, as well as a showground or sporting ground used for animals.
“The amendments in the Bill carefully balance the rights of those who wish to protest and the rights of those involved in relevant industries.”
“It shows how seriously the Palaszczuk Government takes any action which may pose risks to human safety, animal welfare, food safety, biosecurity or may cause economic losses for these businesses.”