Animal extremists to be hit with massive fines
IT IS music to farmers' ears hearing the State Opposition plans to throw the book at animal extremists.
The LNP's is proposing three new criminal offences; Aggravated Trespass, Serious Criminal Trespass and Organised Trespass as part of a Private Members Bill for harsher penalties for animal extremists.
The proposed introduction was welcomed by AgForce CEO Michael Guerin.
Mr Guerin said if these proposed laws were supported by the current State Government, it would provide a much stronger deterrent than the current, soft, on-the-spot fines for trespass.
"While the State Government's introduction of on-the-spot fines last month was a step in the right direction, the amount, $652.75, was manifestly inadequate," Mr Guerin said.
"Significant fines, lengthy jail time, these are the only ways to stamp out this sophisticated, calculated, illegal behaviour.
"If we're actually going to get the attention of these criminals and make them experience some genuine consequences for their actions, we need harsher penalties."
Mr Guerin said the late behaviour of the animal activist has been discouraging.
"Let's not forget that we're talking about militant animal rights activists who have been trespassing on to family farms and terrifying the people who live there," Mr Guerin said.
"They're frightening hard working farmers who take the issue of animal welfare and biosecurity very seriously, who are going about the business of working from their homes, their farms, to feed and clothe the rest of us.
"The fact they can't do that safe in the knowledge that Government has their back in times of trouble is astounding."
Mr Guerin said community and other industry groups would also welcome the Opposition's announcement.
"Anyone who cares about the people who work our land, who do it tough in times of drought and flood, the true environmentalists of this land, the backbone and lifeblood of this country, will support these proposals," Mr Guerin said.
"These so-called animal-lovers actually cause a great deal of distress to the very animals they say they're trying to protect.
"They also pose a significant threat to biosecurity, which is bad news for everyone."
Current Trespass laws
General Trespass - Maximum penalty-20 penalty units ($2,600) or one year's imprisonment.
Trespass on farmland: Maximum penalty-10 penalty units ($1,300) or six months imprisonment.
State Government Trespass fines (biosecurity regulations):On the spot fines of $652.75 - no imprisonment.
State Opposition Trespass:
Aggravated trespass: Maximum of three years imprisonment or a maximum fine of 100 penalty units ($13,055).
Serious Criminal Trespass: Maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment or a maximum fine of 3000 penalty units ($391,650).
Organised Trespass: Maximum fine of 10 years imprisonment or 3000 penalty units ($391,650).