Pollies clash over trespass

Michael TraillAlbany Advertiser
Minister Alannah MacTiernan
Camera IconMinister Alannah MacTiernan Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian, Michael Wilson

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan has accused the Nationals WA of inciting animal activists to trespass on WA farms.

The comments came after the Nationals WA pledged to “crack down” on rural crime if it was elected to Government following next year’s State election.

Party leader Mia Davies promised to bring back the Rural Stock Squad and reform drone legislation as part of the crackdown.

“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 MacTiernan was quick to dismiss Ms Davies’ comments.

The minister said legislation should be introduced to Parliament in coming months.

“While the Nationals have continued to incite activists with their inflammatory statements, we have gotten on with actually arresting and prosecuting activists who have trespassed on to farms,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“WA Police’s swift action in dealing with trespass incidents in early 2019 has been a highly successful deterrent to activists.

“There have been zero reports of activist trespass on farms since the first successful prosecutions in March 2019.”

Sean Knox, general manager of Albany-based Southern Raw Pet Meats, said he supported tougher laws to deter animal activists.

Mr Knox said his business was targeted by “well-organised” animal activists through attempts to slander the brand online.

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