The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has introduced ground-breaking legislation to recognise a farmer’s ‘right to farm’, Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said today.
Mr Provest said the Right to Farm Bill was an election commitment by the NSW Liberals & Nationals and recognised for the very first time a farmer’s inherent right to farm, shielding them from nuisance claims.
The Bill also introduces the toughest penalties in Australia for farm trespass, including up to three years jail and fines of up to $22,000. Currently there is no jail time for trespass.
The proposed legislation also introduces new offences and aggravating factors for activities such as trespassing as a group, damaging property and releasing livestock.
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to supporting our hard-working farmers and their families and it’s imperative we implement these additional measures,” Mr Provest said.
“This important piece of legislation will create a clear deterrent to any would-be vigilantes considering unlawfully trespassing on farming properties as well as providing safeguards against nonsense nuisance claims.”
Deputy Premier and Leader of the NSW Nationals John Barilaro said the Bill would help address the recent rise in farm invasions.
“If you invade a farm in NSW you’ll face the toughest penalties in the nation and three years potential jail time,” Mr Barilaro said.
Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall said the Bill included new offences that exist in no other State or Territory.
“Here in NSW, we back our farmers 100 per cent so it makes sense we have the toughest penalties for those who decide to wreak havoc on our primary producers,” Mr Marshall said.
“This legislation will also go further by for the first time recognising a farmer’s inherent right to farm and providing protections for those facing costly legal action for simply going about their business.
“If you’re farming legally and have done so for many years, you’re not going to cop a nuisance claim and potential legal action just because some folks from the city moved next door and decided they didn’t like the sound of your dairy cows.”
The Bill comes on top of regulatory changes recently introduced under the Biosecurity Act 2015, which impose further offences and large financial penalties for farm trespass that breaches on-farm biosecurity plans.