Agricultural Region MLC Rick Mazza of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party has called the State Government’s proposed farm trespass legislation, which gives new powers to animal welfare inspectors, underhanded and a step too far.
Under the proposed Animal Welfare and Trespass Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 Consultation Draft, inspectors have right of entry to a property at any time and without a warrant.
Mr Mazza said the WA Parliament rejected the provision to give designated general inspectors powers of entry to properties for compliance monitoring during the recent Animal Welfare Amendment Bill 2017 debate.
“We are dealing with farm trespass, so for Government to try and sneak in animal welfare inspectors again makes no sense and is very underhanded,” Mr Mazza said.
“An increase in penalties for farm trespass and animal welfare related incidents is welcome, but these are two separate issues and should be treated as such.
“The focus should be squarely on activists who harass farmers going about their lawful business adhering to animal welfare laws.”
“Finding nine of the Standing Committee on Legislation report into the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill 2017 found the unfettered powers of entry that were proposed for designated general inspectors are unnecessary,” Mr Mazza said.
“The powers that currently exist for inspectors under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 are sufficient for those purposes.”
Mr Mazza said after 12 months of inaction by the State Government on the issue of farm trespass, it is appalling that it is primary producers who are being targeted by the proposed re-introduction of designated inspectors which had little support.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if government asserts an all or nothing approach to this proposed legislation in an attempt to pressure MPs and industry into accepting these powers of entry without notice.”