NSW Labor has this afternoon moved to introduce its own Right to Farm (Farming Families Protection) Bill in the NSW Parliament Lower House.
This will guarantee family-owned farms in regional NSW are protected from trespassers, enforced by strict penalties.
Labor’s Bill seeks to apply the State’s safe access zones mechanism – laws that were specifically drafted to apply to protests outside abortion clinics, as a model to protect farmers from protestors.
Unlike the Nationals’ Bill which is vulnerable to High Court challenges, potentially leaving farmers high and dry with no protection, the mechanism Labor is proposing has been tried and tested and, importantly, its validity has been confirmed by the High Court.
Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Jenny Aitchison today said: “Labor supports the right of all farmers to live and work on their land safely and peacefully.”
“Today, we proudly give notice of our own bill in the NSW Parliament – a Bill that is tightly focused and actually protects family-owned farms.”
“The Government’s process on its own Bill has been shocking - the worst I’ve seen in all my years in the NSW Parliament.”
“There has been a 27 per cent increase in farm incursions since 2014, based on the Government’s own figures. They’ve done nothing for five years - and have now proposed a wild and erratic approach that the High Court could well strike down.”
“Their legislation was poorly drafted, had to be amended before it was voted on, and is still far too broad in scope to provide certainty for farmers.”
“Labor’s Bill is laser-like in its focus on protecting family-owned farms. It gets the job done plain and simple.”
Ms Aitchison expressed disappointment that the Nationals haven’t been interested in working with Labor to find a genuine solution.
“Instead they’ve played politics to distract from their own failure to build a single dam in regional NSW in a decade.”
“They should be condemned for raising farmers’ anxieties in the middle of a drought.”