New laws passed in parliament to protect farmers

TOUGH new laws passed in the Federal Parliament this week protect farmers across the Wide Bay from the unlawful actions of animal activists

Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien said the successful passage of the Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill was an important safety measure for dedicated farmers in Wide Bay and throughout Australia, most of whom were small businesses.

"This bill clearly demonstrates the Morrison government will back our farmers and their livelihoods, with no tolerance for those who want to disrupt and destroy our farming, fishing and forestry industries," Mr O'Brien said.

"This bill was introduced in the first sitting of the new Parliament because it was a top priority of the Federal Government to protect our farmers and establish new offences for incitement of trespass, property damage, or theft on agricultural land.

"This bill reflects the Australian community's expectations that farmers who feed and clothe us should be safe from harassment in their businesses and their homes.

The bill criminalises the action of publishing material, via a carriage service, with the intention of inciting trespass, property damage or theft on agricultural land, with punishments including imprisonment of up to five years

"It sends a clear message to animal activists' that trespass and invasion of privacy is a criminal matter.

"It's time these activists learned that when protests become acts of trespass and theft, you're not a protestor, you're a criminal and deserve to be punished." 

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.