New laws to protect Victorian farmers

New laws have been introduced in Victoria to allow livestock owners to voluntarily establish extra biosecurity measures on their properties, to protect them from trespassers.

Changes to the Livestock Management Act 2010 and Livestock Management Regulations 2021 have introduced offences for non-compliance with prescribed biosecurity measures, including entering agricultural premises without consent.

Offenders will face on-the-spot fines of $1,294 for individuals and $8,321 for organisations, the toughest fines in Australia. Further penalties of up to $11,095 for individuals and $55,476 for organisations could apply for more serious offending.

Agriculture Victoria Executive Director of Agriculture Regulatory Policy Angela Brierley says these new laws will help to deter people from trespassing on farms and better enable prosecutions of trespassers.

“Victorian farmers work hard to keep their animals safe and protect them from pests and diseases with robust biosecurity systems.”

“These new laws seek to deter behaviour that puts that hard work and the safety of their animals at risk,” Ms Brierley said.

Ms Brierley said producers choosing to take advantage of these new protections must have a biosecurity management plan (BMP) that includes a farm map and mandatory information, as well as compliant biosecurity signage. Specific visitor consent procedures must also be followed under the new laws.

“Producers who already have an on-farm biosecurity plan in place can simply add a BMP coversheet to this plan to be covered by the new laws,” she said.

“We recommend using the BMP coversheet templates available from our website to ensure all mandatory information is included.”

For an offence to apply under the new laws, the biosecurity management plan must include:

  • A clear title: including the words ‘BIOSECURITY MANAGEMENT PLAN’ and the address of the premises to which it applies.

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