|Member for Lowan Emma Kealy is encouraging people from across the electorate to have their say on the issue of farm trespass laws, with a state parliamentary inquiry into the issue now open for public submissions.
Ms Kealy – along with her party colleagues – has also called for a hearing as part of the inquiry to be held within the Lowan electorate and rural communities around the state, not only at Parliament House in Melbourne.
The inquiry aims to help determine the best ways to strengthen laws to protect Victorian farmers against farm trespass following the alarming action of brazen extreme activists who have been illegally entering farms and stealing livestock.
“Our farmers deserve laws that protect them against activists illegally coming on to their farms and stealing livestock,” Ms Kealy said.
“Locally a Luv-A-Duck property near Nhill has been targeted and experienced theft and incidents of trespassing and now our local stock agents are being targeted online.
“Our farmers work hard and operate responsible and sustainable businesses. They deserve to be able to operate their farms without fear for their own safety or that of their family, employees and livestock.”
Ms Kealy referred to an instance of protestors trespassing on a property in Gippsland which ultimately resulted in a small business closing its doors.
“No-one should have to face the heart-breaking decision of closing down their business, as we saw at Yarragon’s Gippy Goat Café, because of the stress of constant harassment and intimidation.
“It’s clear the laws need fixing when law-breaking activists get fines of just $1 – it’s just a slap on the wrist that only emboldens illegal activists instead of deterring them,” Ms Kealy said.
If you want to have your say…
Written submissions will be accepted until August 2.
The inquiry will deliver its final report by November 28.