The Nationals Gippsland MP’s have welcomed the announcement controversial Aussie Farms website has been stripped of its charitable status.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victorian Region Melina Bath said Aussie Farms has been using its charitable status to unfairly target law abiding Victorian family farms.
“Its website uses a satellite map and pinpoints the details of law-abiding farms across Australia,” said Ms Bath.
“It contains photos and videos of farm invasions performed by animal activists and illegally obtained farm surveillance footage to be used as propaganda.
“Aussie Farms used its charitable status to solicit donations and gain tax concessions which finance animal activism.
“Disturbingly, majority of the properties targeted by Aussie Farms are also family homes of law-abiding farmers.”
Ms Bath brought the issue of inadequate farm trespass laws and animal activism to the attention of State Parliament at the beginning of 2019.
Throughout the year she has continued to campaign for greater protections for Victorian farmers, successfully establishing a Parliamentary Inquiry aimed at fixing farm trespass laws.
Ms Bath also launched a Parliamentary petition about Aussie Farms in June 2019 seeking three actions.
The petition attracted over 6500 signatures and called for Aussie Farms charitable status to be revoked, the Aussie Farms website to be shut down and stronger legal protections to appropriately penalise farm trespassers.
Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said farmers are unfairly targeted by Aussie Farms and its activists who deliberately flout Victoria’s inadequate farm trespass laws.
“Our farmers have experienced an unjustifiable level of scrutiny at the hands of Aussie Farms, it is important we keep pushing back and support our agriculture industry,” said Mr O’Brien.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said animal activists have been holding farmers and their families to ransom and revoking their charity status was a small, but positive step.
“The Aussie Farms website and the lack of consequence for activists in Victoria who break the law is causing serious frustration across the community.
Ms Bath said the fight to fix farm trespass laws will continue.
“The actions of law-breaking activists has had a significant impact on our farmers, their families, businesses, employees and the community.
“The Nationals welcome this advancement but will continue to fight to fix farm trespass laws and implement stronger legal protections to protect farmers.”