Victorian farmers have today had a small win in the fight against animal activism and illegal farm trespass.
Secret surveillance undertaken by animal activists has finally been ruled out by the Andrews Labor Government.
The introduction of on the spot fines will be the first step to fix Victoria’s broken farm trespass laws.
These commitments come in response to the final report of the Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Rights Activism on Victorian Agriculture.
Serious concerns had been raised by the farming community that the Committee report recommended to codify public interest surveillance.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said she vehemently rejected any moves to allow public interest surveillance on farm by activists.
“Farm trespass is illegal and there are no excuses for breaking the law, harassing farmers or breaching biosecurity,” said Ms Bath.
“The intent of the Inquiry was to fix farm trespass laws, not weaken them and hand activists a get out of jail free pass.
“Victoria’s 50,000 farmers can finally breathe a sigh of relief.”
The Andrews Labor Government’s response comes a year and half after Melina Bath raised the issue of animal activism in State Parliament and then sought to fix farm trespass laws through an Inquiry.
Ms Bath said the Andrews Labor Government must quickly implement on the spot fines for law breaking activists.
“Farming is fundamental to our regional, state and national economy and supporting the agriculture industry must be a priority.
“Victoria laws were clearly inadequate and not providing acceptable protection to our law-abiding farmers.
“It is shameful that Labor MP’s failed to support the Inquiry in the first place and then backed activists in the Inquiry report.
“Overwhelming Gippslanders were calling for farm trespass laws to be fixed.
“The public outrage following the invasion and subsequent harassment of the Gippy Goat which resulted in $1 fines for activists, clearly articulated public sentiment.
“The Andrews Labor Government must improve support and better protect Victoria’s law-abiding farmers.
“Inquiry recommendations 9, 12 and 14 were also rejected by The Nationals and do not support primary producers and were outside Inquiry’s the terms of reference.
“My Nationals colleagues and I will continue to work for our valued farmers, advocate for greater protections and hold the Andrews Labor Government to account,” Ms Bath said.