The government’s tough new trespass laws to protect farmers from the unlawful actions of animal activists have passed the Federal Parliament, with NSW Nationals Senator Perin Davey speaking in favour of the legislation.
Senator Davey said animal activists who use the personal information of family farmers to incite trespass now risk imprisonment of up to five years.
“We’ve all heard stories about farmers whose properties have been vandalised and whose families and workers have been threatened; in fact, I know several dairy farmers and pig farmers whose businesses and operations have been directly impacted by activists and vandals,” Senator Davey said.
“This Bill makes it a criminal offence to publish material, via a carriage service like the internet, if you intend to incite trespass, property damage or theft on agricultural land,” she said.
“It is absolutely critical that the Coalition Government continues to support our farmers and workers in the agriculture industry, and these laws send a very clear message to animal activists: if you incite farm trespass, you risk jail.”
Minister for Agriculture, Senator the Hon. Bridget McKenzie, said anyone convicted of the offence would face up to five years in prison.
“Australians expect the farmers who feed and clothe us – and many millions around the world – should not be harassed, or worse, as they go about their work,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The time has come for activists to understand that they just can’t descend on someone’s home and place of work, interfere with their business and steal their animals.
“We’re not banning protests – we’re banning militant animal activists from inciting others to break the law.”
The government amended the Bill to include adding wood processing facilities to coverage under the Bill. The Bill will be presented for Royal Assent through the regular process.