THE New South Wales Government’s introduction of hefty new on-the-spot farm trespass fines targeting animal activists recognises the risk of biosecurity breaches caused by animal activists invading family farms, industry representative bodies say.
NSW Farmers has welcomed moves from the State Government to amend biosecurity legislation and introduce on-the-spot fines of $1000 and further biosecurity fines of up to $220,000 per person or $440,000 for corporations.
“Biosecurity is critical to farmers, as it ensures our market access and minimises disease risk to provide high quality welfare outcomes,” NSW Farmers president James Jackson said.
“The biosecurity risks posed by trespassers has been long overlooked and the Governments action today demonstrates their commitment to assisting farmers protect their biosecurity.”
“NSW Farmers has always said a range of activities are required to combat the risks that these activists pose.”
Today’s announcement from NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall comes as the federal parliament is set to consider new laws this week that create an offence for using the internet to ‘incite’ trespass on farms.
“We applaud the action by the NSW and Commonwealth governments. The current legislative framework is not effective and new laws are needed to address these crimes,” Mr Jackson said.
Put farmer protection above politics
Meanwhile, Federal agriculture minister Bridget McKenzie has called on the Australian Parliament to support farmers and make a stand against activists who invade farms, damage property and steal animals.
“The people who produce the food that feeds us have a right to feel safe in their businesses and homes without the threat of activists’ invasions,” Minister McKenzie said.
“The sophisticated and coordinated attacks on farming operations need to stop. Anthony Albanese has been on a ‘listening tour’, but must not have paid attention in rural and regional Australia where this is a serious issue for farmers and farm workers,” she said.
“Farmers have contacted me questioning their place in the industry, and it is too late for others who have left altogether.
“Whose side are Labor on, the farmers who produce our food or the activist votes from the Greens?
“Richard Di Natale seemed more focused on taking pride in his parties’ ‘strong and proud tradition of civil disobedience’.
Labor should take a stand and publicly support greater protections for Australian farmers from keyboard warriors who incite teams of animal activists to trespass, thieve and damage property, Sen McKenzie said.
“No one should be subjected to this sort of behaviour in their business or home—it risks the safety of farmers, animal welfare and biosecurity.
“Australian farmers are currently vulnerable, the Australian Parliament should unite and show how much they are valued. We can’t lose more hard-working farmers, fishers and foresters from the industry.”
“When you trespass and steal you’re not a protestor, you’re a criminal and deserve to be punished with the full force of the law.”
Sources: NSW Farmers, Ag Minister’s office
What chance the QLD Government will introduce similar legislation?!