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Vic opposition moves to strengthen farm trespass laws

Guest Author, 08/02/2022

THE Victorian Nationals and Liberals have introduced amendments to the State’s Livestock Management Amendment (Animal Activism) Bill 2021 today to fix problems in the draft legislation that will see farmer’s river frontage land excluded from protection by the laws.

Vegan protestors block peak hour traffic in Melbourne during a protest in 2019.

The amendments will also better deter illegal actions by doubling the maximum fine for individuals, bringing Victoria in line with other states that have the nation’s highest penalties, Leader of the Nationals and former VFF president Peter Walsh said.

Mr Walsh said the State Nationals and Liberals did not believe changes proposed by the Victorian Labor Government go far enough to protect farmers and their families.

“Parliament’s farm trespass inquiry, spearheaded by The Nationals’ Melina Bath, exposed serious flaws in farm trespass laws,” Mr Walsh said.

“In the worst case, an activist who illegally entered a farm, stealing livestock and threatening biosecurity, was fined just $1.

“Having a crowd of extreme activists swarming onto your family farm is a terrifying experience – for farm families and for livestock – but Labor’s penalties won’t be a sufficient deterrent unless they’re increased.”

Mr Walsh said Labor’s Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas waited until the last parliamentary sitting week of 2021 to introduce the bill, which he described as “poorly drafted – and long overdue – legislation”.

“At the time, the Minister trumpeted the heavy fines but the detail of the Bill reveals that although on-the-spot fines will be introduced, the maximum fine is actually among the lowest in the nation.

“And farmers with river frontage land will have that part of their farm excluded under Labor’s flawed Bill, with the Liberals and Nationals also proposing minor changes that will mean all their farm is protected.”

Source: Victorian Nationals

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