Tough new farm trespass laws to protect Australia’s farmers from the unlawful actions of animal activists have passed the Australian Parliament.
Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill was about putting Australia’s farmers first.
“Militant animal activists have invaded farms across the country trespassing, threatening and harassing farming families, including in Gippsland,” Mr Chester said.
“This Bill makes it a criminal offence to publish material, via a carriage service like the internet, if you intend to incite trespass, property damage or theft on agricultural land.
“Animal activists who use the personal information of family farmers to incite trespass risk imprisonment of up to five years.
“The Coalition Government is serious about deterring those who want to disrupt and intimidate our farmers, fishers and foresters in their homes and on their properties.”
Agriculture Minister, Bridget McKenzie, said anyone convicted of the offence would face up to five years in prison.
“Australians expect the farmers who feed and clothe us – and many millions around the world – should not be harassed, or worse, as they go about their work,” Minister McKenzie said.
“The time has come for activists to understand that they can’t just descend on someone’s home and place of work, interfere with their business and steal their animals.
“We’re not banning protests—we’re banning militant animal activists from inciting others to break the law.”
The Government amended the Bill to include adding wood processing facilities to coverage under the Bill. The Bill will be presented for Royal Assent through the regular process.