The Nationals WA have condemned the McGowan Government for breaking its promise to introduce legislation to protect farmers from criminal animal activists by the end of 2019.
Leader Mia Davies said Labor’s broken promise was a slap in the face to farming families and agricultural communities, who had been fighting for greater protections since February.
“It’s an utter failure by the Premier and the Attorney General that no progress has been made on such critical legislation this year – despite repeated calls by The Nationals WA and the agricultural sector,” Ms Davies said.
“The absence of this legislation means farmers, livestock transporters, saleyards, abattoirs, butchers, restaurants and cafes will continue to be exposed to criminal activity without the appropriate deterrent.”
Ms Davies said The Nationals WA had driven the agenda in State Parliament on behalf of rural communities who felt under siege from animal activist groups.
“The Nationals WA presented a petition, raised questions, and used motions in Parliament to call for this important legislation to be prioritised, but it has fallen on the deaf ears of a McGowan Government that doesn’t care about regional WA,” Ms Davies said.
“We are led to believe one of the reasons the Attorney General has failed is because his own partyroom does not agree with the proposal.
“His commitment to the House earlier in the year rings hollow and there is clearly no resolve by the Labor McGowan Government to protect our agricultural sector from activists, trespassers and illegal behaviour.”
Throughout the year, The Nationals WA called for stronger trespass penalties, the reformation of the rural stock squad, and a review of the Surveillance Act to prevent drones being used for surveillance on farming properties.
In Question Time last week, agriculture spokesperson Colin de Grussa asked the Attorney General when farmers and business owners could expect to see this long-promised legislation.
“The Attorney General refused to give a time-frame, only stating the legislation would be introduced when it is ready,” Mr de Grussa said.
“This has been their response every time we’ve asked, and our agricultural industry deserves better than these lame excuses.
“They deserve to have their concerns taken seriously, to be prioritised and to be allowed to continue their legitimate business operations without the fear of harassment and intimidation.”