The Nationals WA have called on the McGowan Government to provide a clear message on what it is doing to tackle escalating instances of trespass on farms and regional businesses in the wake of today’s court ruling on the actions of two animal activists.
Leader Mia Davies said questions to the Premier, Agriculture and Police ministers and Attorney General in Parliament had produced conflicting answers as to how the Government would deal with the issue.
Ms Davies said it was not her place to question the decision of the court but the agricultural community was demanding a swift and united response from lawmakers.
“The Nationals will continue to ask questions of the Government and pursue this on behalf of the agricultural community and those businesses and householders that feel under threat,” she said.
“There needs to be real deterrents in place that discourage people from going down this path and the current laws don’t do that.”
Ms Davies said animal activists appeared to be emboldened by the Government’s mixed response to recent incidents and the level of crowdfunding to pay for the activist’s fines and legal fees were evidence of that.
“We cannot let these individuals wear this as a badge of honour,” she said. “It needs to be dealt with.
“We continue to have members of the community in regional WA that are feeling under siege, questioning whether they’re safe in their own homes and on their own properties.
“This Government needs to work harder to bring legislation to the Parliament as soon as possible.”
The Nationals WA have so far led the debate on what should be done to curb rural crime and stop a rising tide of illegal activity by animal activists.
“These activities continue to occur because Labor is seen as a soft-touch by animal activists,” agriculture spokesperson Colin de Grussa said. “We have called on the State Government to review trespass laws and ensure regional police are adequately equipped and resourced to respond to the spike in intimidating activist behaviour.
“We have also suggested revisiting the stock squad, which was disbanded in 2008, and a review of surveillance laws in relation to the use of drones.”
The Nationals WA have presented a petition to Parliament calling on the Government to investigate tougher penalties for rural crime. “The petition calls for review of legislation to protect landholders against theft or damage to livestock or property, trespassing and hunting or fishing on private land without permission,” Mr de Grussa said.