Member of Lions Club – State Parliament
The Andrews Labor Government’s announcement yesterday of measures to tackle farm crime falls well short of what is needed to crack down on the theft of livestock, farm equipment and illegal hunting in East Gippsland.
The Andrews Government announced a 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).
Nationals Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, said before the 2018 State Election, the Liberal Nationals committed to establish a specialist rural crime unit with an additional 20 officers dedicated to solving rural crimes.
“As a country MP I hear first-hand just how much devastation stock theft causes in our rural communities and I have had a number of local farmers raise concerns who have called for a dedicated rural crime unit,” said Mr Bull.
“Local police and the existing AGLOs are doing the best they can with the resources they have, but they are having to combine rural crime investigations with their other duties and it’s clear they need more support given the instances of rural crime taking place across Victoria and particularly here in East Gippsland.
“A lot of rural crime goes unreported because country folk just accept that it will be difficult to get investigators out to help them.
“That’s a direct result of there being too few frontline police dedicated to solving rural crime and to provide an active and visible police presence in the community.”
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh, said Labor had failed to act on rural crime.
“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.” said Mr Walsh.