ANIMAL ACTIVIST BILL WELCOMED

Bev McArthur MP, Member for Western Victoria Region, today welcomed the announcement from the Federal Government of their commitment to farmers and primary producers against the unlawful actions of animal activists.

Yesterday, Federal Attorney-General, Christian Porter and Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie introduced The Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protect) Bill 2019.  This bill establishes new offences for perpetrators of trespass, property damage, theft and biosecurity breaches on agricultural land.

Mrs McArthur said: “our farmers and other primary producers should not have to live in fear of the invasion of their property and privacy by animal activist offenders.”

“This legislation will seek to protect farmers and their businesses – many of them small family businesses – by introducing serious criminal penalties, including up to 5 years behind bars and fines of $12,600 for farm invaders and those who incite theft and damage on farms,” she said.

Mrs McArthur also encouraged the Andrews Government to follow the example of the Federal Government and introduce legislation that properly penalises animal activists if they trespass on agricultural land. "To not do so, will rightly be construed as tacit support for these unlawful activities. Animal Justice Party Western Region MP, Mr Meddick will likewise have to decide whether he supports farmers or activists", she said. 

“The Victorian Government must stand up for farmers across Victoria to ensure the penalties for farm theft and biosecurity risk fit the serious crimes currently being perpetrated,” she added.

Mrs McArthur called for stronger action following events which include the publication of the intrusive ‘Aussie Farms’ interactive map identifying farms across Western Victoria Region and the two $1 fine offences handed down resulting from the theft of goats at the Gippy Goat Café late last year.

“These unlawful actions on agricultural land are unacceptable and there must be consequences to ensure the protection of farmers and their families.”

Bev McArthur also encouraged submissions to the Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Activism on Victorian Agriculture via the website: https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/eic-lc/article/4202

5 July 2019
Contact: Beverley McArthur 0418 593 169