The new legislation, announced as part of a significant shakeup of the state’s Biosecurity Act, has created a new offence resulting in on the spot fines and further potential penalties up to $220,000 per person and $440,000 for corporations. The legislation, due to come into force in August, will apply to anyone trespassing in areas where a Biosecurity Management Plan is in place, including processing facilities.
As well as the New South Wales legislation, the Federal Parliament is considering new laws that would make it an offence to use the internet to incite trespass on farms. This comes after activist group Aussie Farms published a map of farms and abattoirs online.
Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) CEO Patrick Hutchinson congratulated the government on the move.
“For our members, activism is not only a threat to biosecurity but to the very future of the sector and the 200,000 direct and indirect jobs it provides across the country. The sector is worth $22bn annually and meat is the seventh-largest export commodity in the country. In many regional areas, the local meat processing facility is the biggest employer in town,” he said.
“It’s important that we tackle the challenge of illegal activism and trespass from a number of angles so we can protect our industry and the thousands of businesses that want to get on with running their operations.”
Hutchinson added that AMIC is keen for confirmation that any new legislation to protect the agribusiness sector applies across the entire supply chain.
“At both federal and state level we generally see references to farmers being protected. We hope that this is simple detail and that all businesses in the supply chain will be covered. AMIC reminds federal and state leaders that in recent times many processing facilities and butcher shops have been damaged or interrupted.”
Last month, AMIC highlighted a butcher shop in Brisbane that had suffered an attack by anti-meat activists.