Have a say in farm trespass inquiry

The Nationals Gippsland MP’s are encouraging the community to have their say to help fix farm trespass laws, with a parliamentary inquiry into the issue now taking public submissions.

The inquiry will help determine the best ways to strengthen laws to protect Victorian farmers against farm trespass, following the alarming action of brazen extreme activists who have been illegally entering farms and stealing livestock.

Tim Bull, Member for Gippsland East, Danny O’Brien, Member for Gippsland South and Melina Bath, Member for Eastern Victoria Region have been working for many months to ensure this important Inquiry came to fruition.

Melina Bath said she moved to establish the Inquiry to make sure regional communities, including people living in Gippsland, could have their say.

“Farm trespass and livestock theft has been a pertinent topic in Gippsland, with our farmers publicly targeted by animal activists,” said Ms Bath.

“No-one should have to face the heart-breaking decision of closing down their business, as we saw at Yarragon’s Gippy Goat Café, because of the stress of constant harassment and intimidation.”

Danny O’Brien said our farmers deserve laws that protect them against activists illegally coming on to their farms and stealing livestock.

“It’s clear the laws need fixing when law-breaking activists get fines of just $1 – it’s just a slap on the wrist that only emboldens illegal activists, instead of deterring them,” said Mr O’Brien.

Tim Bull said The Nationals stand with our Gippsland farmers and rural communities, and this Inquiry is a first step forward to deliver the change our communities are demanding.

“It is important that our Gippsland farmers’ voices are heard and they have the opportunity to detail the fear, harassment and intimidation the agriculture industry has faced,” said Mr Bull.

The Nationals have also requested that the Committee ensure that public hearings are held in Gippsland and other rural communities, not just at Parliament House in Melbourne.

Visit www.parliament.vic.gov.au/eic-lc/article/4187 for details on how to have your say. Written submissions will be accepted until August 2. The Inquiry will deliver its final report by November 28.