A parliamentary inquiry to fix farm trespass laws and better protect Victorian farmers will be established after a strong community-driven campaign supported by the Liberal Nationals.
The Liberal Nationals proposed the inquiry after calls from farmers and community members to strengthen laws and better protect farmers against extreme animal activists illegally entering properties and stealing livestock.
Nationals Party leader Peter Walsh said establishing the inquiry was a win for farmers, their families and regional communities.
"This inquiry is an opportunity for Parliament to work together to deliver the laws and penalties that our communities expect and demand," Mr Walsh said.
"Our farmers and communities are demanding action which is why the Liberal Nationals have fought to establish this inquiry."
Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath led debate on the Liberal Nationals' motion in the Upper House on Wednesday.
Ms Bath, who is also sponsoring a petition to fix farm trespass laws that's gathered nearly 5000 signatures so far, said the inquiry was the first step to deliver the change communities have been calling for.
"The Liberals and Nationals are standing up for the rights of farmers, their families and farm businesses who continue to be relentlessly targeted by law-breaking activists," she said.
"While the Agriculture Minister tried to avoid fixing this issue, ongoing pressure from communities in Gippsland and across the state has forced the government to act."
Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said while the government welcomed the inquiry into these matters, the proposed terms of reference restricted the inquiry to on-farm activities.
Ms Symes said it was also squarely focused on a law and order response.
"Whilst I acknowledge that laws and penalties are part of the response, it would be a lost opportunity to restrict this inquiry to legislative reform when there are a range of measures that may be considered to prevent, deter, and respond to illegal animal activism activities," she said.
"I have been very firm on this issue - it is most concerning, and I want illegal activities to stop."
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