Inquiry to fix farm trespass laws

Inquiry to fix farm trespass laws

Better protecting East Gippslandʼs farmers against the destructive actions of law-breaking activists will be at the centre of a parliamentary inquiry to fix farm trespass laws.

The Nationals proposed a motion to State Parliament last week to establish the inquiry, following serious concerns more needed to be done to protect farmers from law breaking activists.

Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the inquiry would help identify the best way to strengthen laws and would report back in November this year.

“These people are a blight on society as far as I am concerned, invading farms illegally and getting a slap on the wrist for it,” Mr Bull said.

“I am hopeful this inquiry will result in an outcome that provides some minimum fines/penalties, so these people really face serious repercussions for their actions.

“Having visited the Gippy Goat Café the week before it closed due to the activist’s invasion, it is infuriating these actions had that impact.

“This parliamentary inquiry is a win for farmers, their families and regional communities.

“I’ve heard from many farmers who are furious that people are getting away with breaking into farms and stealing livestock with just a slap on the wrist.

“I would like to thank the 2000 people who responded to my online petition in support of this action in Parliament. This effort certainly helped get this over the line.

“The Nationals stand with our farmers and rural communities on this issue, and this inquiry is a first step forward to deliver the change our communities are demanding.”

Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh, said the strong community-driven campaign had forced the Andrews Government into action.

“This inquiry is an opportunity for Parliament to work together to deliver the laws and penalties that our communities expect and demand,” Mr Walsh said.

Mr Walsh added that it was disappointing that not all parties had supported the inquiry.

“While Labor finally saw the light and realised they can’t keep ignoring farmers, unsurprisingly the Greens again failed to back the industry,” Mr Walsh said.

“The Greens pretend to support farmers when they are hunting for votes, but, as proved again, it’s just hollow rhetoric.”

The inquiry will be carried out by Parliament’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee and local people will have a chance to have their say when public submissions open.