Wednesday, 13 November 2019
THE strongest protections for the State’s farmers and farming families will be enshrined in law after the NSW Government today passed the historic Right to Farm Bill through State Parliament.
Member for Northern Tablelands and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall heralded the passing of the Bill through both houses as a “red letter day” for agriculture in NSW.
“This is an historic day for our State’s farmers, introducing the toughest penalties in the nation for farm trespass and providing farmers with a nuisance shield to protect them from unnecessary and costly legal disputes,” Mr Marshall said.
“Country NSW is experiencing extremely trying times – suffering through this devastating drought and battling ferocious bushfires – the absolute last thing our farmers need is the threat of trespassers and expensive legal disputes.
“If a farmer is undertaking lawful agricultural activities, they will have the full protection of the law in NSW against farm invasions, intimidation and interference in their farming operations.
“We are the first jurisdiction in Australia to enshrine in law a farmers’ right to farm their land and have rigorous protection from the threat of illegal farm incursions.”
Under the Bill, penalties for aggravated farm trespass will increase from fines of up to $5,500, to three years jail time and up to $22,000 in fines.
“Farmers are under siege across our State – they are battling drought and fires right now and this is a timely piece of good news agriculture,” Mr Marshall said.
“We have delivered on our election commitment to step up and protect farmers from animal activists, illegal hunters and extremist activities that are designed to alienate farmers from those that live in the city, damaging our farmers and confusing consumers.
“The significance of this Bill to the farming community cannot be overstated. Other industries for decades have enjoyed specific protections and legislative defenses in our laws and yet farmers have been consistently overlooked. No longer will this be the case.
“Farmers are the backbone of NSW. It is not just a private business, or an industry that hums along somewhere over the ranges. Farming provides the food and fibre we rely on to feed not just people in NSW and Australia, but NSW farmers provide sustenance and produce to people right around the world.
“Consumers demand the best in agriculture and this is precisely what NSW farming families deliver. Enshrining their significance in law and imbedding in our statute books an inalienable right to farm is in everyone’s best interests.
“I’m incredibly proud to be the Minister for Agriculture finally bringing legal recognition to the importance of farmers to our State and the importance of letting them get on with the job of doing what they do best – farming.”
The passing of the Right to Farm Bill delivers on a key election commitment by the State Government.
The new penalties will be in force in by the start of next year.