The NSW Liberals & Nationals in Government have today delivered on their election commitment to address attacks on farming families, such as those carried out by Aussie Farms, with the introduction of tougher penalties for activists who illegally enter farmers’ properties from next month.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall today announced a major shakeup of the State’s Biosecuity Act.
A new offence has been created that will see illegal trespassers on farms, creating biosecurity risks, handed an immediate on-the-spot fine of $1,000 and further fines of up to $220,000 per person and $440,000 for corporations.
The new penalties will kick in from 1 August 2019 and are the first stage of a broader suite of measures being developed by the Liberals & Nationals in Government to protect NSW farmers’ right to farm.
“Vigilantes who are entering our farmers’ property illegally are nothing short of domestic terrorists – our farmers have had a gutful. They don’t deserve, nor have time, to be dealing with illegal trespass and vile harassment from a bunch of virtue-signalling thugs,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals in Government are putting in place the harshest penalties in the country and sending a strong warning to those who think it’s okay to illegally invade farms and harass our hard-working farmers.
“But we aren’t stopping there. We are also looking at ways we can further deter this kind of behaviour, including introducing legislation and potential gaol time for offenders.”
Mr Marshall said the government was determined to clamp down on illegal farm invasions and was working on additional changes with further penalties, including gaol time, for those committing criminal acts associated with farm trespass.
“Today we are putting these vigilantes and thugs on notice – your time threatening our primary producers by illegally trespassing and creating biosecurity risks is done,” Mr Marshall said.
“The agricultural industry and community have had a gutful of this vile behaviour. These thugs are not only harassing and traumatising hard-working farmers and their families, they’re also posing serious biosecurity risks by potentially bringing contaminants and diseases onto properties that could wipe out an entire farming operation.
“Today’s announcement complements the work the Commonwealth Government is doing in targeting the online incitement of farm trespass.”
Member for Albury Justin Clancy said: “I welcome today’s announcement and look forward to further work from the NSW Government to protect farmers’ right to farm in the Albury electorate.”
Under the changes to the Biosecurity Regulation 2017 it will become mandatory for site visitors to comply with a Biosecurity Management Plan.
Anyone who enters a designated biosecurity area without permission and without complying with the plan’s requirements may be guilty of an offence under the Biosecurity Act 2015, and subject to the new, harsher penalties.
To access the new offence, farmers will need to have a biosecurity plan in place and appropriate signage. Farmers are encouraged to contact the Department of Primary Industries or their Local Land Services office for more information.