VICTORIAN Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes refused to support farmers this week when asked if the Andrews Government backed the Federal Government’s move to review the charity status of animal activist group Aussie Farms.
Victorian farmers and their families have been left exposed by the mass publication online of personal addresses by the group.
When asked in Parliament this week, Ms Symes would not say if the Andrews Government backed calls for Aussie Farms to be stripped of its charity tax status after the massive privacy breach.
“Victorian farmers want to know the new Minister has their back, but Ms Symes didn’t step up this week and that was very disappointing,” Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said.
“Farmers and farming communities are furious and fearful after their personal details were published online. In many cases, these farms are not just businesses – they are the homes of the families who run them.
“The Liberal Nationals support the Federal Coalition Government’s bid to review Aussie Farms’ charity status and the Andrews Government should also get behind it.”
Among other benefits, charity status provides tax concessions to an organisation and also to the people who donate to them.
“Genuine charities, and the volunteers who give up their time to do such important work, are a critical part of our country communities,” Mr Walsh said.
“Militant activism that includes trespass on Victorian farms, livestock theft and property damage isn’t charity work – it’s breaking the law.
“Any organisation found to be promoting or financially supporting unlawful actions should face the full force of the law, and they certainly shouldn’t be afforded charity tax benefits.”
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