In just six-and-a-half weeks since the NSW Government introduced new anti-trespass and biosecurity regulations to keep farm-invaders off farms, more than 33,000 free warning signs have been commissioned by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to meet overwhelming farmer demands for protection from trespass across the State.
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said the uptake was a clear indication of just how serious the threat of trespass was to farmers and how desperate farmers were to protect their homes and livelihoods from the threat of trespass.
“So far we have distributed more than 22,000 signs with another 11,000 in production to be distributed through the 11 Local Land Services (LLS) regions,” Mr Marshall said. “We’ve also provided another 1,000 to the NSW Police Force Rural Crime Prevention investigators.
“DPI, LLS and the Police are reporting that they can barely keep up with demand, with the signs as popular as steak-sandwiches at Ag-Quip, with many thousand sought out by farmers at that event alone. “This is overwhelming uptake in just over six weeks since the changes were introduced to give farmers more protection from trespass by ensuring their biosecurity management plans are not just a piece of paper in their drawer, but are actually obeyed by anyone wanting to come onto a property.
“With farms requiring an average of two signs per property, we are easily looking at over 10,000 farmers who have taken up the free signs, with many more downloading the electronic file online to have printed up to their requirements.
“Farmers were crying out for protection from the unhindered vigilante behavior they have endured the past few years, and this is just the first part of my plans for people who will use any means and any justification to crush our farmers.” Changes to the Biosecurity Regulation 2017 now make it compulsory for anyone entering a farm to comply with a Biosecurity Management Plan.
Today Mr Marshall will introduce into Parliament the Right To Farm Bill 2019, which will severely increase trespass penalties in the Inclosed Lands Act 1901, including making up to three years jail time available to Courts for the first time.
“The Bill will also create a new law to protect farmers from unreasonable tree-changers who move next door to a farm and then seek to shut that farm down through nuisance claims,” Mr Marshall said. “If anyone is in any doubt as to just how serious the issue of illegal trespass and activism is to farmers, we have over 33,000 reasons to continue to protect our farmers from on-farm invasions.
“I look forward to both sides of the political divide to get behind our farmers and protect them from the threats, abuse, trespass and online denigration that has been allowed to continue unchecked for so long.”