Govt weak on farm activism: MLA

Kellie BalaamNarrogin Observer
Peter Rundle with sheep.
Camera IconPeter Rundle with sheep. Credit: Supplied

Farmers have been left in the dark after the State’s Attorney-General refused to support farmers and the protection of their farms, according to a Nationals MLA.

Member for Roe Peter Rundle said the victims of illegal animal activism had been turned into villains by the State Government’s change of approach to stronger trespass laws.

Mr Rundle has continued to question Attorney-General John Quigley about the status of the new laws he promised in May.

“The Attorney-General refused to say when farmers can expect support from the Government to protect their farms and families from the intrusions of vegan protestors,” Mr Rundle said.

This comes after Mr Quigley said he had gone back to the drawing board on the long-awaited draft of the legislation following ABC 7.30’s investigation into the horseracing industry.

Mr Rundle said it was clear Mr Quigley and Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan were trying to merge legislation to cover both the horse racing and agriculture industries.

He said Ms MacTiernan’s push for stronger inspection provisions for producers and processors meant they faced the real prospect of random searches on their property for no reason.

“This effectively makes those who are seeking the protection of stronger trespass laws potential targets of scrutiny from inspectors,” Mr Rundle said.

Mr Quigley wants tougher penalties for farm intruders and for animal welfare inspectors to be able to enter properties at any time.

Mr Rundle said he would support a Bill that protected the welfare of retired racehorses.

“(However) integrating this amendment into the trespass laws contradicts the very reason for the trespass laws,” he said.

Mr Rundle called on Mr Quigley to finalise the animal activism trespass Bill and get it into Parliament as soon as he could for the farmers’ and processors’ sake.

“If he fails to do so he will once again show them that this Government has no regard for their livelihoods,” he said.

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