April 8, 2019
The State Government announced on-the-spot fines at the weekend for farm “invaders” but has not yet revealed what those penalties will be.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said police and Agriculture Department officers would have the power to issue on-the-spot fines, a faster penalty than pursing trespass charges.
As well, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will form a joint Taskforce with the Queensland Police Service intelligence unit to focus specifically on animal activism.
“We want our farmers to get on with their job, to be able to work in a stress-free environment and not have activists, who are coming mainly from interstate to Queensland, causing them distress, which has an impact on our export industry as well,” the Premier said.
“I understand the stress that this issue is causing our farmers, our families.
Last week, Minister Furner and I had the opportunity to talk directly to the Queensland Farmers’ Federation about this important issue.
“I do not believe anyone would believe that it is acceptable for people to cause this distress to hardworking families who work hard on the land.”
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said there has been an escalation in the tactics of militant activists who appeared to assume their beliefs “somehow place them outside the rule of law”.
“This is completely against the tenets that underpin a law-abiding democratic society,” Mr Furner said.
“As a consequence of this new and completely inappropriate era of activism the Palaszczuk Government is drawing a line in the sand.
“Everyone has the right to protest, but nobody has the right to break the law.
“The bottom line is nobody should enter a livestock operation without proper authorisation.
“They are complicated environments with strict biosecurity requirements.”
Opposition spokesman Tim Mander welcomed the announcement but said it was “long overdue”.
“We believe the fines need to be very, very heavy and we think jail terms should be an option,” he said.
He said the fines should be “thousands of dollars, not hundreds of dollars”.
“We have to send a clear message to these activists that they must obey the law.”
The move by the State Government followed information that animal rights activist organisations were planning a co-ordinated “national day of action” on Monday.
By noon on Monday, protests had occurred in the Melbourne CBD, at Melbourne Aquarium and at abattoirs in Pakenham and Geelong in Victoria, Goulburn in NSW, and Yangan in Queensland.