Farm invaders to be hit with swift enforcement action.

The Palaszczuk Government has moved fast to crack down hard on animal rights activists who invade farms and meatworks after two further disruptive protests on the Darling Downs and Southern Queensland last Monday.

Before the end of the month, militant animal rights activists will face $652.75 fines issued either on the spot or later after review of evidence from the protest site.

The fines will be issued by Police or biosecurity officers.

The Biosecurity Regulation 2016 will be amended to include this new penalty aimed squarely at animal activists who consider their cause is above the law.

The move was fully endorsed by the Animal Industry Security Taskforce comprising officials from the Department of Agriculture, Police, AgForce and the Queensland Farmers Federation when they met last Thursday.

Minister for Police Mark Ryan said the new on-the-spot fines are a very welcome new measure for Police in combatting illegal and dangerous behaviour by reckless animal activists.

“Those breaking the law will soon be hit hard financially,” Mr Ryan said.

“A taskforce established by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and supported by Queensland Police is also putting processes in place to de-escalate these tense situations and to maintain the safety of everyone involved.”

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the escalation of farm and meatworks invasions we’ve just witnessed are completely unacceptable.

“As well as on-the-spot fines, these disruptive and illegal protestors could also face the courts and possible jail time on trespass charges, once affected landowners complain officially to police and evidence supports their arrests,” Mr Furner said.

“We take animal welfare very seriously and so does an overwhelming majority of our agricultural businesses.”

Mr Furner said the Palaszczuk Government had moved quickly to establish a strong deterrent for activists thinking of breaching biosecurity restrictions where livestock were kept.

“We have acted decisively and drawn a real line in the sand,” he said.

“Animal rights zealots invading farms are a real threat to biosecurity and are putting their lives and the lives of farmers, workers and indeed the animals they claim to care about at risk.

“If they behave in this way then they will pay the price.”

Activists who move from location to location for multiple protests will face being slapped with multiple $652.75 on-the-spot fines.

Five people have now been scheduled to face trespass charges in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on May 9 following a trespassing incident at a Millmerran property last month.

Initially charges were laid against a 29-year-old woman and 26-year-old man, both of Margate, who were alleged to be the principal organisers of a protest and trespassing incident at a Bostock Road, Millmerran, feedlot.

Investigations remain ongoing.

Source: Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries. The Honourable Mark Furner

New advisory council to help develop agriculture into the future

Queensland farmers and their communities are one step closer to achieving a vision for the future of agriculture in the state following continued advocacy by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and industry members.
 
The establishment of the Agricultural Ministerial Advisory Council (AgMAC) has been welcomed by QFF as a positive first step in addressing and genuinely working through issues the sector is facing.
 
QFF President Stuart Armitage said QFF and industry members were looking forward to working with government to progress and resolve agricultural issues and build a more strategic approach by government towards the sector.
 
“QFF has been advocating for AgMAC to be established for some time. We didn’t quite get it up and running last Parliament, so it is encouraging that the Queensland Government has committed to doing something about it early in its new term,” Mr Armitage said.
 
“Many of the issues impacting on agriculture are complex, with various competing government policy priorities and objectives. AgMAC provides a forum to address these cross-portfolio challenges and achieve a more synergistic government policy for agriculture.”
 
“There is also a real need for long term orientation and investment to drive a more competitive and sustainable system. AgMAC is an opportunity for the government to back the sector by progressing some critical competitiveness and productivity issues, and exciting growth opportunities.”
 
“A strong, profitable and sustainable agricultural sector is good for everyone. Besides providing the highest quality food and clothing for people at home and abroad, it helps government balance the books, provides much needed regional economic stability and meaningful employment, and enables better environmental outcomes to be delivered.”
 
“AgMAC has the opportunity to re-establish the agricultural sector as a strategic economic pillar – something that farmers are looking for and all Queenslanders benefit from.”

The first AgMAC meeting will be held next month.

Source: QFF