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O’BRIEN CALLS FOR FARMERS DEFENDERS OFFICE

Nationals Candidate for Polwarth David O’Brien will fight for a $4 million Farmer’s Defender’s Office to defend the right to farm.

When in government, Mr O’Brien was instrumental in pushing for a Farmer’s Defenders Office, which became Coalition policy.

“My Farmers Defenders Office would give farmers free legal assistance when dealing with issues around the right to farm,” Mr O’Brien said.

"It is intended to assist farmers in Polwarth in fights against non farming uses such as CSG.

“The FDO would also set up partnerships with rural and regional law firms, and will be a first point-of-contact for farmers.

“Farmers don’t always have the money or the legal know how to defend their interests. Further, farmers are often involved in cases which have widespread implications across the nation - cases against competing uses including CSG; or against activists or property developers who move into farming land.

“Farming is the backbone of our rural economies and we need to protect it to protect the jobs of the future.

“To ensure viable farms and food security, we must stop farms being threatened by urban encroachment, unlawful conduct by activists and competing commercial interests including CSG,” Mr O’Brien said.

Rokewood farmer Kylie Walton said farmers had been crying out for a service like this for years. 

"Farmers don't have the money and resources that big mining companies and big property developers do to fight legal battles – we don't have in-house lawyers," Ms Walton said. 

"Finally, this is an idea which may even the playing field a little."

"We need to protect our right to farm, our land and our water for our children."