Daniel Andrews not listening to farmers on rural crime

The Andrews Labor Government still isn’t listening to farmers in East Victoria missing another opportunity to employ dedicated frontline police officers to tackle rural crime.

The Andrews Government announced the Farm Crime Co-ordination Unit this week, but despite Labor’s claim it has created 70 new positions, in reality it has offered no additional resources, instead just rebranding the existing Agricultural Liaison Officers (AGLOs).

Victorian farmers have been calling for a dedicated rural crime squad to better protect their family, business and livelihood from rural crime but the Andrews Government just isn’t listening.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said changing a job title won’t help Victorian farmers.

“Labor’s announcement is all smoke and mirrors and provides no tangible protection to our farmers”, said Ms Bath.

“Instead of public relations opportunities and rhetoric from the Andrews Government we need additional resources dedicated to farm crime and animal activism, so hard working police officers are able to execute a timely response.

“It is abundantly clear that the number of operational police able to respond to farm crime is inadequate to provide a satisfactory level of policing, despite the best efforts of our existing officers.

The Nationals announced plans for a Livestock and Rural Crime Squad before the 2018 State Election, which would see additional police officers employed who were dedicated to solving rural crime.

At the time, the Andrews Labor Government rubbished the idea of a dedicated rural crime squad and it’s clear it still isn’t listening.

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said the announcement fell well short of what our farmers have been calling for.

“Daniel Andrews has once again demonstrated why he is the Premier for Melbourne, failing to properly tackle worsening rural crime and protect our farmers,” Mr Walsh said.

“Without a commitment from the Government for new frontline roles and a dedicated, specialist rural crime unit, this is just Labor shuffling the deck chairs.

“The devil’s always in the detail with Daniel Andrews and once you look closely at this announcement it falls well short of what our farmers have been calling for.”