The Nationals WA will significantly increase penalties for trespass, bring back the Rural Stock Squad and reform drone legislation to provide greater protection for regional communities if returned to Government in 2021.
Leader Mia Davies said regional communities had been crying out for additional police support and stronger deterrents after a spike in trespass offences involving animal activists over the past year.
“Over the last 12 months, agricultural properties were placed under siege by the brazen and unchecked actions of criminal activists,” Ms Davies said.
“The beginning of 2019 saw an escalation in the types of incidents being perpetrated by activist groups, with farming properties, sale yards, restaurants and cafes, and even schools being targeted.
“Despite repeated assurances action would be taken by the Labor Government, not a single piece of legislation has eventuated to respond to this growing criminal threat.”
Ms Davies said farmers, workers and their families had the right to feel safe and secure in their homes and at their workplaces.
“The Nationals WA have listened to our farming families, agricultural organisations and the WA Police Union to develop a suite of policies to ensure our lawfully operating businesses are protected,” she said.
If returned to Government in 2021 The Nationals WA will introduce the following measures:
- Urgently establish an aggravated trespass offence, which will carry significantly higher penalties when multiple offenders are present or when geographical isolation or biosecurity risks are a factor.
- Implement on-the-spot fines of $1000 for trespass on agricultural properties, cafes, restaurants and schools.
- Bring back the Rural Stock Squad with an additional 20 full-time regional police officers to deliver specialised support to prevent regional crime.
- Update the Surveillance Devices Act 1998 to ensure drones can’t be used to scope out farming properties.
Agriculture spokesperson Colin de Grussa said rural crime was not just limited to animal activists.
“Due to their geographical isolation, farms can be targets for stock, equipment and machinery theft,” Mr de Grussa said.
“Farmers have also had to contend with illegal hunting, fishing and poaching on their properties, often aided by the use of drones to conduct illegal surveillance.”
The Nationals WA invite feedback on this policy. For more information visit https://www.nationalswa.com