A parliamentary inquiry to fix farm trespass laws and better protect Victorian farmers will be established after a strong community-driven campaign supported by the Liberal Nationals.
The Liberal Nationals proposed the inquiry after calls from farmers and communities to strengthen laws and better protect farmers against extreme activists illegally entering properties and stealing livestock.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said establishing the inquiry was a win for farmers, their families and regional communities.
“This inquiry is an opportunity for Parliament to work together to deliver the laws and penalties that our communities expect and demand,” Mr Walsh said.
“Our farmers and communities are demanding action which is why the Liberal Nationals have fought to establish this inquiry.”
The Nationals’ Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath led debate on the Liberal Nationals’ motion in the Upper House today.
Ms Bath, who is also sponsoring a petition to fix farm trespass laws that’s gathered nearly 5000 signatures so far, said the inquiry was the first step to deliver the change communities have been calling for.
“The Liberals and Nationals are standing up for the rights of farmers, their families and farm businesses who continue to be relentlessly targeted by law-breaking activists,” Ms Bath said.
“While the Agriculture Minister tried to avoid fixing this issue, ongoing pressure from communities in Gippsland and across the state has forced the Government to act.
“I stand with our farmers in stating that only tougher laws with appropriate penalties will provide the necessary legal protection for our primary producers.”
Mr Walsh added that it was disappointing that not all parties had supported the inquiry.
“While Labor finally saw the light and realised they can’t keep ignoring farmers, unsurprisingly The Greens again failed to back the industry,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Greens pretend to support farmers when they are hunting for votes but, as proved again today, it’s just hollow rhetoric.”
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