VICTORIAN Premier Denis Napthine has ruled out new ag-gag laws in the state, but the Coalition Government remains concerned about trespassers and deceptive conduct unfairly and unlawfully impacting on farmers.
At Hamilton’s Sheepvention expo this week, Premier Napthine said there were no proposals before Cabinet and the state government for any laws which could be described as ag-gag laws.
“We won’t see those sort of things in Victoria,” he said.
Despite earlier this year declaring the Coalition Government would introduce legislation to protect farmers from animal activists, Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh yesterday said there was no divergence of opinion on the issue between himself and the Premier.
“As the Premier notes, there isn’t currently anything that could be described as ‘ag-gag laws’ before Cabinet or Parliament in Victoria. “Victoria already has trespass and unauthorised surveillance laws, as well as tough animal welfare laws,” Mr Walsh said.
“However, as flagged in our election commitments, the Coalition Government is concerned about instances of trespass and deceptive conduct that are unfairly and unlawfully impacting legitimate farming operations and we are carefully considering what additional measures could be put in place to protect farmers.”
At Sheepvention, Mr Napthine said the sheep industry had to sell its positive side.
“Wool is a natural product – it has enormous environmental advantages and the people involved in the industry care for their environment, are the leaders of Landcare, they care for their animals and they genuinely want to produce quality animals in a caring environment and sustainable environmental situation.
“I think we need to champion the champions of the environment, the champions of animals and that’s the farmers,” he said.
“We need to be putting forward that positive voice instead of always being on the back foot.”