Animal activists invading people’s properties can expect to face tough new sanctions after new farm trespass laws passed the Federal Parliament last Friday.
The news comes as a Victorian Parliamentary committee investigating the issue prepares to hold a hearing in Wangaratta next month.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said the Federal Nationals had driven the changes to Commonwealth law, which will introduces new offences for incitement of trespass, property damage and theft on agricultural land.
“This legislation is a huge win for farmers, their families and regional communities not only in Victoria, but Australia-wide,” Ms Ryan said.
“It sends a clear message to animal activists that violating the personal information of farmers, including the publication of their addresses to incite trespass, will not be tolerated.
“Activists will now risk imprisonment of up to five years if they are found to have breached the privacy of farmers and their families.
“If you trespass and steal livestock from farming families and their businesses, you are not an activist, you’re a criminal and you deserve to be punished for your actions.”
Ms Ryan said The Nationals had also been working in the Victorian Parliament to bring about changes to protect farming families from rogue animal activists.
The Victorian Parliament is holding public hearings to gather evidence from farmers on how the actions of animal activists are impacting their businesses and their livelihoods.
Ms Ryan is encouraging anyone affected by rogue animal activists to consider giving evidence to the committee.
“The committee has so far received almost 500 submissions to the inquiry.
“I am pleased that the committee has scheduled a public hearing to be held Wangaratta next month.
“I strongly encourage anyone in our region who has been impacted by animal activists to consider giving evidence at the hearing.
“It is critically important that the committee receives the evidence it needs to make strong recommendations for greater legal protection.”
To read the evidence given to the committee so far, visit https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/965-eic-lc/inquiry-into-the-impact-of-animal-rights-activism-on-victorian-agriculture