Review Underway to Stop Trespass
Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries said he is glad his initiative into trespassing, poaching and illegal hunting is being supported with the announcement that a review will be led by former NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Bradshaw.
Mr Humphries said he will be working with Mr Bradshaw to make recommendations to the Rural Crime Advisory Group and the Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice, Troy Grant.
The increase in incidents of stock theft, particularly feral goats in Western NSW has spurred the government to take action to prevent the issue from escalating further.
“We’re hearing stories of landholders losing stock and being threatened on their property and the police have limited resources and power to do anything about it,” he said.
“It’s imperative we give the police the powers they need to prosecute those doing the wrong thing.”
Mr Bradshaw, who is a member of the Rural Crime Advisory Group, will consult with NSW Farmers, local landowners, the RCAG, the Department of Primary Industries, local Police and other affected stakeholders before reporting back to the Deputy Premier by June 2016.
When asked about the long time frame, Mr Humphries said there are a number of factors that need to be considered to address the issue effectively.
“It’s not as simple as just increasing the fines for trespass, although that’s something I’d like to see done as a deterrent in the short term,” he said.
“The review also needs to look at increasing stock theft penalties, on-the-spot impounding of illegal hunting equipment, stock identification and proof of ownership, sale and transportation of stock and police training.
“Currently the penalty for livestock theft is up to 14 years’ imprisonment but if you can’t prove ownership it’s very difficult to prove theft.”