New biosecurity laws including fines for trespass from August 1

On-the-spot fines for farm activists

The NSW Government will impose on-the-spot fines for activists who invade private farming properties and jeopardise their biosecurity.

Today's announcement is part of a broader suite of measures being considered by the NSW Nationals in Government to protect farmers' right to farm.

"Today, the Deputy Premier and Minster for Agriculture have taken an important step in stopping farm invaders by imposing on-the-spot $1,000 fines for trespass," the Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey said.

"Biosecurity is key to the viability of our farms. Hence, if an activist now takes it upon themselves to invade someone's property which is in violation of their biosecurity plan, then they will be guilty of an offence.

"Not only will it be a $1,000 fine, but Courts will have the ability to impose further fines of $220,000 or even $440,000 if a corporation is to blame.

"Activists and farm invaders are on notice - this is step one. We are looking at even more penalties to protect farmers' rights."

Under the changes to the Biosecurity Regulation 2017, it will become mandatory for site visitors to comply with a Biosecurity Management Plan.

Anyone who enters a designated biosecurity area without permission and without complying with the plan's requirements may be guilty of an offence under the Biosecurity Act 2015, and subject to the new, harsher penalties.

The new penalties will come into effect 1 August 2019. Authorised officers such as NSW Police will be able to issue $1,000 on-the-spot fines. Further penalties will be available to Courts, including $220,000 for individuals and $440,000 for corporates.

To access the new offence, farmers will need to have a biosecurity plan in place and appropriate signage. Farmers are encouraged to contact the Department of Primary Industries or their Local Land Services office for more information.

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