Beverley McArthur MP
Member for Western Victoria Region
Thank you Scott Morrison but where are you, Daniel Andrews?
Beverley McArthur, Member for Western Victoria Region, welcomes the Federal Government announcement that a re-elected Morrison Government will introduce new legislation to make it an offence to use a carriage service, such as the internet, to disclose personal information to incite trespass on agricultural land where that could cause commercial detriment.
This legislation will give farmers across Western Victoria Region protection from extreme activists who target their private homes, farms, businesses and families.
Mrs McArthur had raised the issue in State Parliament last month and emphasized the ‘evident inadequacy of the current laws and their implementation by the courts surrounding farm biosecurity, the repercussions for breaching them and the failure to deter or punish offenders.’
This announcement comes as a relief in the wake of recent events where one of the ‘malicious perpetrators’ of the theft of goats at the Gippy Goat Café late last year. The offenders were handed down two $1 fines for offences of removing an identifying ear tag from a goat and not having a Property Identification Code for her home where she was housing animals which she had fitted with nappies. Each of these offences carry maximum penalties of $9671.
Bev McArthur also noted further injustices in that the thief was ordered to pay a mere $250 compensation compared to the farmer’s estimated stock value of $2000, and that two other participants at Yarragon escaped conviction, receiving six month good behaviour bonds.
The announcement means that the Morrison government, if re-elected, will pass legislation which will make certain that the extreme activism of Aussie Farms and similar organisations is illegal and punishable by up to 12 months’ imprisonment. Exemptions for bona-fide journalists and whistle-blowers will also be introduced.
The farming and agriculture sector is a $60 billion industry, employing thousands of Australians across rural and regional areas. The hard-working Australians in this sector deserve protection from eco-terrorism and there must be consequences for extreme animal activist behaviour.
It is now up to the Daniel Andrews to stand up for farmers and enforce a law and order system that properly ensures the penalties fit the crime.
10 April 2019