Two people have been charged under new laws introduced last year by the NSW Government which target and crackdown on illegal farm invaders. Changes to the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 late last year introduced the toughest suite of penalties in Australia for illegal farm trespass.
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said the arrests were proof the new trespass provisions were working to protect farmers. “I was incredibly proud to introduce these laws in late 2019 and this is why,” Mr Marshall said.
“A farmer, simply trying to make a living, was subject to a late night farm invasion by multiple people intent on disrupting his business and terrorising his family. “This farmer was so worried about illegal trespass activity that he had hired a private security company in the lead up to the midnight invasion.
“These vigilantes then proceeded to sneak onto his property on multiple occasions throughout January, reportedly in camouflage and balaclavas, before being caught red-handed. “This is exactly the type of disgusting behaviour that the Right to Farm laws were designed to capture. It is abhorrent that farmers simply going about their business of providing our food continue to be subject to this brazen behaviour.
“These people clearly had no intention of engaging in lawful peaceful protest – sneaking onto a farm in the dark dressed like a thug.” Mr Marshall said the State’s farmers were battling both drought and bushfires every day and they did not deserve this type of treatment.
“This sort of carry on is nothing but a terrifying home invasion designed to drive farmers away from their businesses,” he said. “The charges laid against these individuals are proof that these changes to the law – which were opposed by Labor – were desperately needed and that the changes we made are effective in capturing this type of radical, illegal behaviour.”
Both individuals have been charged with aggravated unlawful entry on inclosed lands under the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 where the maximum penalty is one year imprisonment and/or $13,200 or up to three years imprisonment and/or $22,000 for aggravated trespass conducted by 3 or more persons.