The hot topic of conversation at Farm World was the impact of animal activism, farm trespass and theft on law abiding Victorian farms.
Over 1000 people signed the Gippy Goat’s petition at The Nationals stand, adding to the nearly 3500 signatures already collected online.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath said Gippslanders are understandably outraged by the raids on Gippy Goat’s farm and the subsequent $1 fines handed out.
“The lack of penalty for animal activists and the recent state wide action undertaken by the activists has heightened frustrations across our community.
“The public are fed up with the aggressive and threatening actions of animal activists,” said Ms Bath.
In March Ms Bath proposed the motion that the Economy and Infrastructure Committee hold an Inquiry into the effectiveness of Victoria’s current legislation around animal activism and on farm trespass and theft.
When the motion was tabled, The Nationals wrote to Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes calling for Labor’s support for the Inquiry.
Ms Bath said one month down the track I am disappointed that Minister Symes has failed to respond or communicate in anyway with us on this very important issue.
“Rather than making luke warm comments to the media, Minister Symes needs to come out in strong support of our farmers and support the Inquiry,” said Ms Bath.
“The Andrews Labor Government must comprehend farm trespass and theft and animal activism is not going away. It is time they listened to the community and responded accordingly.
Ms Bath said she is focussed on leading the debate when parliament resumes in May and explained an Inquiry would make recommendations for changes to our state laws.
“An Inquiry will examine all issues surrounding farm biosecurity, surveillance, privacy and nuisance laws and review minimal penalties.”
Ms Bath said she is committed to working with John and Penny Gommans owners of Gippy Goat, the Victorian Farmers Federation and other stakeholders in order to safeguard Victoria’s agriculture industry.
“These activists are deliberately attempting to undermine and destabilise our farming industry,” said Ms Bath.
“It is incredibly important that we act now to strengthen and improve Victoria’s laws so our farmer’s right to farm is protected.”