Australia

'Toughest in the nation' farm trespass bill introduced to NSW parliament

NSW farm trespassers could face up to three years in jail under a bill set to be introduced in state parliament.

NSW farm trespassers will face the toughest penalties in the country - including up to three years' jail - under a bill to be introduced in state parliament.

Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall will on Tuesday introduce the Right to Farm bill, which also includes a new offence of inciting or causing a trespass and aggravating factors for trespassing as a group, damaging property and wilfully or negligently releasing livestock.

Anti-cruelty activists took goats from a Gippsland property.
Anti-cruelty activists took goats from a Gippsland property.

Punishments for farm trespass will be increased from fines of up to $5500 to three years' jail time and up to $22,000 in fines.

Offenders could also face extra biosecurity fines introduced by the state government in July.

Topless animal welfare activists protest to make a stand to raise awareness of what they claim is cruelty within the dairy industry, Melbourne, Saturday, February 23rd, 2019. (AAP Image/Ellen Smith) NO ARCHIVING
Animal welfare activists go topless to make a "ditch dairy" stand to raise awareness of what they claim is cruelty within the dairy industry.
AAP

"The community has had a gutful of farm invasions and have said existing penalties of up to $5500 in fines are just a slap on the wrist," Mr Marshall said in a statement.

"We've listened to that and will now establish the toughest possible penalties in the nation for farm invasions."

The proposed laws will also recognise a farmer's inherent right to farm and provide protections for those facing costly legal action, he said.

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