ADJOURNMENT DEBATE ON AUSSIE FARMS 

My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Minister for Agriculture and concerns the Aussie Farms ideologues who created an online map publishing the addresses of 395 agricultural livestock businesses in Western Victoria Region.

These misguided activists encourage public intrusion into farming enterprises, thereby jeopardising legitimate agricultural operations and animal safety. This so-called charity is clearly more interested in causing militant behaviour against farmers than protecting animal welfare. Their real agenda is clearly to end the animal meat and dairy production industries, which have made my region and indeed this nation one of the most highly regarded farming regions and nations of the world. Not only is encouraging trespass on farms totally irresponsible, a breach of privacy and a criminal issue, but such behaviour presents added risk to the strict biosecurity protocols in the farming process.

By such reprehensible actions Aussie Farms are actually encouraging behaviour by militants that puts animal health at risk. These reprehensible actions have serious implications for an industry worth $7 billion in Victoria and jeopardise not only farmer livelihoods but the economic wellbeing of all Victorians. Aussie Farms clearly intend to encourage unlawful activity. Their registration form asks volunteers to enter private commercial properties for investigative purposes and do anything asked of them.

The National Farmers Federation president reports that many farmers have been 'hurt, scared and afraid to leave their children home alone for fear of activists attacks’. Animal activist illegal behaviour is not uncommon in Victoria. We recently saw the theft of three goats and a lamb by activists in Gippsland. Some of the stolen animals were found by police, and you can only imagine the trauma caused to grazing animals being bundled into a car, placed in a house and then forced to wear nappies. How is this about animal welfare? What absolute hypocrisy, but typical of what underpins all extreme ideologies.

By raising this important issue on behalf of my hardworking farming families and their communities, I am requesting that the Minister for Agriculture publicly condemn the actions of Aussie Farms, call for their charity status to be revoked, as I have, and require her colleagues to strengthen trespass laws to protect the Victorian farmers that she is supposed to represent.

5 February 2019