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trespass-hearings
John Gommans, owner of the Gippy Goat, with Nationals Eastern Victoria MP Melina Bath at one of two hearings in Gippsland of the Victorian parliamentary inquiry to fix farm trespass laws.

Trespass hearings

Trespass hearings

John Gommans, owner of the Gippy Goat, with Nationals Eastern Victoria MP Melina Bath at one of two hearings in Gippsland of the Victorian parliamentary inquiry to fix farm trespass laws.

Gippslanders give evidence in farm trespass inquiry

Public hearings in Gippsland this week for the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into farm trespass laws have seen local farmers detail the profound impact of farm invasions on their operations.

Gippsland farmers and agriculture producers have been providing evidence about the impact of illegal farm trespass and livestock theft.

Nationals Eastern Victoria MP Melina Bath, who led the push for the inquiry on behalf of the Opposition, said it was clear the actions of law-breaking activists has had a significant impact on our farmers, their families, businesses, employees and the wider community.

“At the hearing we heard how our farmers and the livestock industry has come under attack by activists, and how farmers have experienced an unjustifiable level of scrutiny and pressure,” Ms Bath said.

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“At the Warragul regional hearing John Gommans, owner of Gippy Goat, outlined the shocking ‘trial by social media’ he experienced, even though his farming operations had 100 percent compliance with its regulatory audits and workplace inspections.

“John articulated how the farm invasions also led to the closure of his Gippy Goat café.

“During the Bairnsdale hearing we heard about three incidents of confronting activism against an agriculture industry worker that went unreported due to the individual’s fear of further repercussions.

“A constant theme across both regional hearings was that livestock producers care for their animals and take the issue of animal cruelty seriously as their livelihoods depend on it.”

Ms Bath said agriculture is an incredibly important industry in Gippsland and across regional Victoria, employing thousands of people and it is essential it has better legal protections.

The Inquiry hearings will continue over the next two months in Melbourne and regional locations. The final report into farm trespass laws will be presented to State Parliament in February 2019.

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