Call to beef up laws

By Country News

A new offence to protect farmers from trespassers will be introduced, if the Federal Government is re-elected next month.

The new law would see anyone who used the internet or another carriage service to share personal information to assist someone to trespass on agricultural land face up to 12 months in jail.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the law was specifically designed to protect farmers and primary producers from the unlawful actions of animal activists.

‘‘We have seen with Aussie Farms the malicious use of personal information, including farmers’ names, addresses and workplaces, designed specifically to encourage others to trespass on properties and damage businesses,’’ Mr Porter said.

‘‘The law would also apply to other primary producers such as abattoirs.’’

Mr Porter said the new laws would include appropriate exemptions for journalists and for situations where the information being released showed a law being broken, such as whistleblowing on animal cruelty.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said those sharing personal information to trespass deserved to go to jail.

‘‘Farming families grow our food and there are children on these farms,’’ he said.

‘‘Now states must beef up farm trespass laws.

‘‘If 100 of my mates stormed a house in Sydney, we’d expect to be locked up — and farmers deserve the same protection.’’