Member of Lions Club – State Parliament
The final report of the Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Rights Activism on Victorian Agriculture has been released and Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, says Labor should be ashamed for walking away from farmers and pandering to Green ideology.
“The Liberal Nationals moved to establish the inquiry after calls from farmers for better protections against a worsening militant campaign of trespass and livestock theft, but it has gone the other way.
“Instead of backing our farmers, Labor MPs sided with those who want to push their extreme anti-agriculture agenda on Victorians.
“It attempts to give these illegal activists a ‘get out of jail free’ card.
“Recommendation one states a need to consider a ‘public interest exemption’ in the Surveillance Devices Act 1999. This would provide a judicial defence for activists who trespass on a farm to set up surveillance equipment.
“We wanted tougher penalties, but the lefties on the committee suggest an exemption. You would expect this from some of the extreme left, but for Labor to support this really shows where they sit with the farming community.
“For this reason, the Liberal Nationals are unable to support the Committee’s majority report and Labor can’t claim to support our farmers while handing law-breaking activists a legitimate excuse to trespass.
“This inquiry was a genuine opportunity to deliver the change regional communities have been demanding,” said Mr Bull.
“But instead of backing our farmers, Labor MPs are moving to tie producers up in more red tape and run a protection racket for the law-breaking activists attempting to destroy our farm industries.
“The Committee heard harrowing stories of the emotional and financial toll illegal farm invasions are inflicting on Victorian farming families.
“Despite clear evidence the response from our courts to farm trespass and theft is not meeting community expectations, the report is silent on ways to improve protections for farmers against activists who break the law,” he said.
Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath, who initiated the Inquiry, said instead of preventing and deterring illegal animal activist activity on Victorian farms, Labor MPs drove the Inquiry in another direction altogether, delivering recommendations to indulge the ideological agenda of law-breaking activists.
“After receiving hundreds of submissions supporting stronger farm trespass laws and hearing about the emotional and financial distress caused by animal activists in Victoria, Committee members have largely ignored farmers.
“Our farmers have suffered greatly at the hands of animal activists, but this isn’t reflected in the report, so I had no choice but to deliver a minority report to address its shortcomings.”
Image of hereford calf courtesy of Visit Victoria Content Hub