Monday, 20 November 2017
RURAL crime reforms initiated by the NSW Government, which passed through State Parliament last week, will reduce rates of stock theft, rural trespass and illegal hunting, according to Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall.
Mr Marshall said Parliament supported the Rural Crime Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 – a wide ranging review of rural crime laws in the state.
“Landholders have been calling out for stronger recognition of the damage of trespassing – a criminal act that can have severe biosecurity and financial implications on farming businesses,” Mr Marshall said.
“Rural crimes are often wanton acts of destruction, carried out by predatory cowards that rely on attacking isolated properties and stock.
“I welcome these changes and the new suite of criminal offences which will empower our local police officers and landholders to stop trespassers, track down stolen stock and stop illegal hunting activities on their properties.”
Former NSW Police Force Assistant Commissioner Steve Bradshaw was the architect of the new approach with the recommendations in his review the result of extensive interviews with victims, police officers, and regulatory compliance officers.
“Farmers know best the challenge in stopping these criminals and this reform package takes their expertise into account. These new laws will help bring about a reduction in rural crime.
“The government has thrown down the gauntlet to would-be crooks – you will get caught and the penalties are more severe than ever.”
The reforms passed by Parliament:
• Create an offence of aggravated trespass on ‘inclosed land’, where a biosecurity risk is created or increased, where the offender intends to engage in stock theft or where the offender is in possession of hunting equipment or hunting dogs;
• Include vulnerability arising from a victim’s geographical isolation as an aggravating factor in sentencing for offences;
• Provide for the power to apply to the Local Court for a stock mustering order, authorising entry onto property owned by another person to muster and recover missing stock. The owner of stock or a police officer may apply;
• Increase the maximum financial penalty for the offence of hunting on private land without the consent of the owner or occupier (from $1,100 to $2,200); and
• Extend existing powers of inspectors and police officers to stop, search and detain vehicles and vessels so that these powers also apply to the offence of hunting on private land without consent. A notice to produce may be issued in relation to the power to search a vehicle that is connected with a game hunting offence;