THE Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath, has secured a commitment for regional hearings to be conducted during the Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Activism on Victoria agriculture.
Ms Bath said considering the geographic location of our farming communities across Victoria, it was important that the Parliament went to the people to conduct hearings.
“Businesses and farms in regional Victoria have been greatly affected by this issue and needed the opportunity to participate locally.
“Early in May I wrote to the Legislative Council Economy and Infrastructure Committee Chair calling on regional hearings for the farm trespass and animal activism Inquiry.
“I am pleased that the chair has acknowledged it is important to listen to regional farming communities locally.”
Ms Bath brought the issue of animal activism and illegal farm trespass to the attention of State Parliament earlier this year, following issues with activists at the Gippy Goat Café in Yarragon.
The parliamentary inquiry to fix farm trespass laws and better protect Victorian farmers was established at the start of May after a strong community-driven campaign led by the Liberal-Nationals.
Ms Bath said she was looking forward to the inquiry starting and continuing her work with Victorian farmers and the agriculture industry to ensure greater protections against illegal entry and theft of livestock.
“This inquiry is the first step in delivering the change our community has been calling for,” said Ms Bath.
“It is imperative that we continue to stand up for the rights of farmers, the agriculture industry, their families and farm businesses.
“Throughout regional Victoria farm trespass and animal activism has had a significant impact with a number of farms and businesses targeted throughout Gippsland and the Mornington Peninsula.
“Broadening the scope of the Inquiry beyond the Melbourne CBD will strengthen the consideration and ensure the views and experiences of regional Victorians are captured.”