Image Upload

File size must be less than 2Mb

You must have online publishing permission or full ownership of this image

File types (jpg, png, gif)

  • Hero image
    VFF president Emma Germano.

Farmers welcome new trespass bill

The leader of Victoria’s peak farming body has welcomed state legislation to deter activists from trespassing on farms.

Victorian Farmers Federation president Emma Germano said on-the-spot fines included in the legislation were ‘very overdue’, but would be ‘very welcome’.

“It’s time animal activists faced proper penalties for trespassing on people’s farms and homes,” she said.

“We hope this will see the end of token $1 fines for farm invasions that we have seen in the past. We believe this is in line with community expectation. Trespass is not an appropriate form of protest.”

Article continues below

The State Government introduced the Livestock Management Amendment – Animal Activism – Bill 2021 to address the impact of trespass on Victorian farms. The bill will also recognise biosecurity risks that breaches from animal activities could pose.

Under the legislation, people who fail to comply will face penalties among the heaviest in Australia, with on-the-spot fines of $1272 for an individual or $8178 for an organisation.

Further penalties of up to $10,904 for an individual and up to $54,522 for an organisation could apply for more serious offences. The proposed legislation seeks to ‘reduce biosecurity risks and the spread of diseases on Victorian farms, deter people from trespassing on farms with the introduction of new offences, better enable prosecutions of trespassers and allow for the issuing of infringement notices’.

A series of events involving animal-rights activists, including the intimidation of farmers, theft of livestock and disruption to business led to the legislation.

Farmers will soon be able to implement biosecurity management plans, BMPs, which can include measures such as requiring consent from farmers before entering a property.

These new measures are part of the government’s response to the Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Rights Activism on Victorian Agriculture. A report to State Parliament last year attracted government support for 13 of 15 recommendations.

The government consulted peak industry bodies which represented farmers and agribusinesses, as well as animal-welfare organisations during development of legislative framework.

The new arrangements will come into effect in 2022.

The entire December 8, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!