John Gommans was a gentleman of high principles and integrity.
It has been my honour to have worked beside John to achieve our combined goal of strengthening farm trespass laws in Victoria so that farmers and their families have stronger protection from illegal on-farm invasion.
Unwaveringly supported by his wife Penny, John became the very public face of law-abiding farmers.
John was determined to preserve his family’s right to farm and protect his employees and animals from the reckless and cruel actions of activists. He advocated for real change to serve all livestock farmers and the wider agriculture community.
His clarity on the need for on-the spot fines to disincentivise the reckless behaviour of activists and his advocacy for the importance and value of livestock in Victorian agriculture cannot be overestimated.
John was a man of word, his calm positivity and willingness to stand up for his family’s vision and all Victorian livestock workers was nothing short of inspirational.
When I first met John and Penny Gommans, as well as recounting the horrendous experience of having their farm invaded by 70 activists, they outlined their vision of creating a full paddock to plate experience to share with Victorian families.
Through their much-loved interactive farming enterprises, the Gippy Goat and Caldermeade farm, John and Penny created a joyful connection to educate and celebrate where our food comes from, building an important bridge between city and country.
It has been a true privilege to know John and the Gommans family. Everyone who knew John will feel a great sense of loss of a man larger than life with a deep love of his family, innovation, and quality local produce.
I sincerely acknowledge John’s efforts in joining with me and The Nationals to strengthen farm trespass laws in Victoria. John Gommans’ legacy to Victorian farmers and our community will be through stronger penalties and legal protections in the Livestock Management Amendment (Animal Activism) Act 2021.