August 22, 2019
Animal activists who conduct protests unfairly targeting Queensland producers could face longer jail terms and bigger fines under legislation introduced into State Parliament on Thursday.
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said the Agriculture and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 was introduced to stop animal activists jeopardising the rights and livelihoods of law-abiding farmers.
The new laws significantly escalate $652.75 on-the-spot fines introduced by the State Government in April.
“Protesters could now face up to one year in jail for trespassing on farm land or be fined more than $60,000,” Mr Furner said.
“The Bill provides more effective protection for our hard-working agricultural industries following recent animal activist protests in south-eastern Queensland.”
Mr Furner said protests over the past year included people invading farms and businesses, putting unfair pressure on farm owners, managers and staff.
“Our farmers have a right to feel safe and protected from risks posed to themselves, their property and their livelihoods,” he said.
“Our community needs to be confident that human safety, animal welfare, biosecurity and food safety are not being compromised.”
Mr Furner said while the government supported the rights of Queenslanders to protest lawfully, those who unlawfully entered farming land with disregard for the consequences would be met with a strong response.
“The Bill includes a package of amendments to the Summary Offences Act 2005, the Biosecurity Act 2014 and the Exhibited Animals Act 2015 to address unacceptable behaviour that poses risks to agricultural and related industries.
“This includes penalties for those unlawfully entering a food production facility, a feedlot and a live export facility, as well as a showground or sporting ground used for animals.”
Mr Furner said the amendments in the Bill balanced the rights of those who wish to protest and the rights of those involved in relevant industries.
“It shows how seriously the government takes any action which may pose risks to human safety, animal welfare, food safety, biosecurity or may cause economic losses for these businesses,” he said.