Agriculture Farmers The Nationals Gippsland South Protect our Farmers fines penalties tougher laws

O’Brien condemns activists, calls on Government to act

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien has condemned the activities of vegan animal rights activists which have led to the closure of a popular Gippsland café and caused concern among farmers throughout the region.

Mr O’Brien said it was untenable that legal, ethical businesses in our community were being targeted by extreme activists with little care for the consequences of their actions.

“The decision by the Gommans’ family to close The Gippy Goat Café is a sad reflection on the state of our society. Gippslanders I have spoken to are angry at the lenient sentences handed down to activists who invaded The Gippy Goat farm and stole livestock,” Mr O’Brien said.

“More generally people are very concerned about the growing militancy of these activists and want to see our government and legal system crack down on this behaviour.

“I strongly believe that everyone has a right to their opinion and the right to peaceful protest, but that does not and should not mean a virtually unfettered ability to invade farms, threaten farmers and their staff and compromise farm biosecurity.”

Mr O’Brien said The Nationals, through his upper house colleague, Melina Bath, had been doing a considerable amount of work on this issue and currently have a motion before Parliament for an inquiry into the adequacy of laws and penalties surrounding farm trespass.

The inquiry would also look at compliance with stringent animal welfare laws and biosecurity, privacy and nuisance as well as considering the experience from other states and overseas.

“If we need to strengthen the law we should. If we need to send a clearer message to the courts that the public won’t tolerate this level of aggression, then we should do so.

“The Andrews Labor Government must back this inquiry or otherwise take action to ensure that our farmers are protected.”

Mr O’Brien is also encouraging people to sign a petition calling for stronger legal protections and to appropriately penalise aggressive protestors. The petition can be signed at his office located at 54B Cunninghame Street Sale, or online at www.dannyobrienmp.com.au/protectourfarmers.

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