National Farmers’ Federation Chief Executive Officer Tony Mahar said the so-called ‘world’s biggest’ action had failed to have the impact and reach organisers desired, reflecting the group’s out-of-touch sentiments.
“These people are opposed to pets, guide dogs and even aquariums, their views are not representative of the general community.”
However, Mr Mahar said at least one farm and numerous supply chain businesses had been subject to invasions, and these stunts were enough to leave the sector feeling frustrated.
“Around 6am this morning, extremists unlawfully entered a Queensland dairy, directing explicit language at the farmer and frightening the cattle to such an extent they jumped fences.
“Meat processors in Yangan, Queensland; Goulburn, New South Wales and Laverton, Victoria were also targeted by small groups who chained themselves to equipment and shut down operations for a number of hours.
“We thank the police in these states for acting quickly, and in many cases we are aware that the offenders have been charged.”
These actions were accompanied by a large event in Melbourne’s central business district, which included obstructing the entrance to the SeaLife Aquarium.
Mr Mahar said Australians had rallied behind farmers throughout the day.
“We’ve been buoyed by the outpouring of support for our farmers, from individuals, from the media and from politicians – including from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the Attorney General Christian Porter and Agriculture and Water Resources Minister, David Littleproud.
“We certainly have appreciated the well wishes and I have to say, mutual outrage, felt by our fellow Australians.”
Mr Mahar said despite being besieged by challenges such as drought and in some cases floods, Australian farmers continued to produce safe, quality food and fibre in accordance with world’s best practices.
“We take the responsibility of meeting community expectations very seriously and will always commit to doing better where needs be.
“We are proud of what we do and how we do it, and will gladly welcome visitors to our farm, as long as we are given the chance to officially grant entry.”
Mr Mahar said the NFF was in conversation with the Federal Government about possible avenues of legal recourse and continued to work with its members to implore state governments to toughen trespass laws.
“We acknowledge the Federal Government’s move last week to amend privacy laws to prevent the sharing of farmers’ private address details.
“We still await action on stripping Aussie Farms of it’s tax-payer funded charity status,” Mr Mahar said.