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    Peter Walsh.

Frustration on farm trespass delay

Victorian Nationals leader and Opposition agriculture spokesman Peter Walsh has slammed the State Government for ‘a lack of progress’ in introducing on-the-spot fines for farm trespassers. 

Mr Walsh said new on-the-spot fines for extreme activists who trespassed on Victorian farms and threatened the safety of farm families still were not in place, ‘nearly two years since the protective measure was recommended’.

He said the government committed in June 2020 to introduce ‘hefty’ on-the-spot fines for biosecurity breaches based on recommendations from a parliamentary inquiry into farm trespass.

Mr Walsh said he had asked Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas in State Parliament for an update.

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“She was forced into an embarrassing admission that she still hasn’t done the work to deliver laws that better protect farmers,” he said.

“This leaves farmers and their families exposed to theft and people illegally entering their properties.

“The agriculture minister bizarrely tried to claim that the delay does not matter because farmers are protected by existing laws – but flaws in existing legislation is exactly why these reforms are needed.

“When current laws see criminal actions by extreme animal activists resulting in a fine of just $1, it is clear the system is not deterring illegal trespass or protecting hard-working, law-abiding farm families.

“The minister’s failure to introduce this important legislation only emboldens extreme animal activists to trespass on and steal farmers’ private property.

“Ms Thomas would only say that ‘work is well underway’ and legislation will be introduced ‘in due course’.

“Other states have already done the work to draft, introduce and pass legislation for on-the-spot fines.

“If the government still needs some pointers, it could look to New South Wales, South Australia or Queensland.

“Farming is fundamental to our regional, state and national economy, and supporting the agriculture industry must be a priority.”

The entire November 24, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire November 24, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!