The NSW Nationals in Government have delivered on an election commitment to address attacks on farming families with a range of tough new measures.
We believe in not only protecting the right to farm, but also defending farming families from the sort of attacks facilitated by reckless groups like Aussie Farms.
NSW Nationals Agriculture Minster Adam Marshall and Deputy Premier John Barilaro have taken an important step in stopping on-farm trespass by vegan vigilantes by imposing on-the-spot $1000 fines for trespass.
“Vigilantes who are entering our farmers’ property illegally are nothing short of domestic terrorists – our farmers have had a gutful. They don’t deserve, nor have time, to be dealing with illegal trespass and vile harassment from a bunch of virtue-signalling thugs,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The NSW Nationals in Government are putting in place the harshest penalties in the country and sending a strong warning to those who think it’s okay to illegally invade farms and harass our hard-working farmers.”
Mr Marshall said the Government was determined to clamp down on illegal farm invasions and was working on additional changes with further penalties, including gaol time, for those committing criminal acts associated with farm trespass.
“Today we are putting these vigilantes and thugs on notice – your time threatening our primary producers by illegally trespassing and creating biosecurity risks is done,” Mr Marshall said. “The agricultural industry and community have had a gutful of this vile behaviour. These thugs are not only harassing and traumatising hard-working farmers and their families, they’re also posing serious biosecurity risks by potentially bringing contaminants and diseases onto properties that could wipe out an entire farming operation. This announcement complements the work the Commonwealth Government is doing in targeting the online incitement of farm trespass.”
Under the new measures, if an activist takes it upon themselves to invade someone’s property which is in violation of their biosecurity plan, then they will be guilty of an offence.
Biosecurity is key to the ongoing viability of NSW agriculture and is extremely important to farmers.
Not only will it be a $1000 fine, but Courts will have the ability to impose further fines of $220,000 or even $440,000 if a corporation is to blame.
Activists who want to cause trouble for farmers in our rural and regional communities are on notice: This is step one. The Nationals in Government are looking at even more penalties to protect farmers who produce the food and fibre we need to ensure that not only are we fed and clothed as individuals, but that New South Wales can thrive economically.
NSW Nationals Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke welcomed the introduction of the new penalties against protesters who choose to invade hard-working farmers’ property, and said primary producers had every right to carry out their lawful work without living in fear.
“I absolutely welcome these new penalties which are designed to stop activists in their quest to destroy legitimate industries and the hard-working communities they support,” Ms Cooke said. “Farmers work themselves into the ground to make sure their livestock are well cared for and are thriving.”
“These so-called protesters only wish to intimidate and bully farmers, cause destruction, and feed their own selfish desire for 15 minutes of fame under the misguided notion that they are ‘helping’ animals.”
Under changes to the Biosecurity Regulation 2017 it will become mandatory for site visitors to comply with a Biosecurity Management Plan. Anyone who enters a designated biosecurity area without permission and without complying with the plan’s requirements may be guilty of an offence under the Biosecurity Act 2015, and subject to the new, harsher penalties.
The new penalties will come into effect on August 1. Authorised officers such as NSW Police will be able to issue $1000 on-the-spot fines. Further penalties will be available to Courts, including $220,000 for individuals and $440,000 for corporates.
To access the new offence, farmers will need to have a biosecurity plan in place and appropriate signage. Farmers are encouraged to contact the Department of Primary Industries or their Local Land Services office for more information.