VICTORIAN farmers are being called on to make submissions to a state government inquiry into the impact of animal activism.
The Victorian Legislative Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee’s inquiry into the impact of animal rights activism on Victorian agriculture is taking submissions up to Friday 2 August this year.
Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke said inquiry is a chance for farmers and supply chain businesses to tell the government how illegal trespass, interfering with businesses, property damage and livestock theft has already or could affect your business and the industry.
“Every farmer, every livestock transporter, every saleyard operator, every abattoir owner and every consumer that supports farmers can and should contribute to this inquiry.
“Animal rights activists and their supports will also be making submissions,” he said.
“We cannot allow their voices to drown out those of farmers and agricultural professionals who are directly impacted.
“Activists that invade farms and steal livestock threaten the safety of farmers and their families, the biosecurity of the farm, the health and welfare of animals, and the economic viability of farm businesses,” Mr Jochinke said.
“There is also a significant stress and mental health impact that activists do not consider.
“You do not have to have experienced an invasion to feel legitimately concerned and stressed about the threat of one,” he said.
“I appeal to all farmers and our supply chain partners to make a submission, no matter how long or short, before Friday 2 August so our collective voice can be heard loudly and clearly in the Victorian Parliament.”
Under the inquiry’s terms of reference, the Committee will consider the effectiveness of legislation and other measures to prevent and deter activities by unauthorised persons on agricultural and associated industries. This will include an examination of the type and prevalence of unauthorised activity on Victorian farms and related industries.
Biosecurity, OH&S and legality issues to be explored
Committee chair Nazih Elasmar said there has been much recent community and media attention directed to the way in which animal rights activism has impacted on farmers and this inquiry will be a thorough investigation of all the issues.
“Through this public inquiry, there will be an opportunity for individuals and organisations to present their perspectives and we invite written submissions from anyone who has information or views to share with us.”
The committee will consider workplace health and safety, biosecurity risks and animal rights activist compliance with relevant legislation. The civil or criminal liability of individuals and organisations who promote or organise participation in unauthorised animal rights activism activities will also be looked at as part of the inquiry.
“These issues have been raised with our committee members by people living in their electoral regions, so it’s important that we investigate these activities thoroughly and make appropriate recommendations once we have collected all the evidence,” Mr Elasmar said.
“As these issues have not just arisen in our state, we will also be looking at the incidences and responses of other jurisdictions in Australia and internationally.”
The committee is inviting written submissions by Friday 2 August 2019 and will then conduct public hearings. In general, all submissions accepted by a committee are public documents. This means that the submission may be published on the committee’s website and quoted in the committee’s report to parliament.
All submissions are public documents and may be published on the committee’s website unless confidentiality is requested and granted by the committee.
Confidential submissions cannot be made online and anyone requesting confidentiality should contact the committee secretary at the Legislative Council, Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Parliament House, Spring Street East Melbourne Victoria 3002. Written submissions should include a full name, contact details (either a postal address or phone number), your submission and a clear indication if confidentiality is required.