NSW Farmers is calling for a mandatory $5500 fine for rural property trespassers.
The association last week welcomed an announcement by the state’s deputy Premier Troy Grant that a re-engineered NSW Police Force will include a Deputy Commissioner for Regional NSW Field Operations and a greater focus on the needs of rural NSW.
But NSW Farmers president Derek Schoen said it was time the penalties for trespass were a real deterrent and not an afterthought.
“A farm is also a home, and farmers need to feel protected in their homes,” Mr Schoen continued.
“It is often difficult for police to respond to rural crime in a timely manner, and the penalties being handed down lack teeth.”
The Association also believes changes need to be made to the staffing of rural police stations so that police are not sent away from small stations to deal with shortages in larger regional centres.
Mr Schoen said earlier in the year, hundreds of farmers attended rural crime forums organised and promoted by the association.”
“The clear message from those forums, and from our association’s annual conference, is that changes are required to police resourcing and to trespass laws so that farmers are better protected.
“Since then, the association has met with the deputy Premier to discuss the need for change,” he said.
“This announcement recognises that the unique challenges associated with fighting rural crime deserve specialist focus, starting at the top.
NSW Farmers said farmers across the state are enduring the highest reported levels of livestock theft since 2013, as well as a surge in illegal hunting activity. This is often accompanied by vandalism or the theft of farm equipment and fuel.
Source: NSW Farmers.